A stormy week in Hamilton City Council, and even more uncertain for New Zealand’s giant casino company, Sky City Entertainment Group and its land-based casinos.
Namely, certain councillors from the Hamilton City Council put forward a proposal for a 40% increase in profits for the community from earnings on pokies machines located at the Sky City Hamilton Casino.
This is nothing new because we have already seen that other gambling venues are trying to do this in the rest of the country.
Currently, the casino from Victoria Street allocates a tiny 1.5% of the profits from pokies to the community, annually.
This proposal came on demand because the current amount is very low if we take into account that class 4 gambling operators in NZ such as pubs, clubs, hotels and others who are required by the law of the Gambling Commission to return a minimum of 40% of all earnings on gaming machines.
All 6 casinos in New Zealand are not subject to this law.
Community contribution stats
The main person responsible for this change and the proposal is the council chief executive Richard Briggs, who announced that this must change.
According to him, this is a situation where Sky City Hamilton casino returns only 1.5% while other class 4 venue operators return 40%.
If it sounds like a low amount to you, believe it or not, Sky City Auckland is required to refund only 0.7% of total earnings or a minimum of NZ $ 500,000 per year.
Let’s see how much the other casinos are obliged to pay back.
- Grand casino: Their obligation to give back to the community is only 1% of the pokies profit or the maximum amount of NZ $ 110,000 at casino from Dunedin.
- Christchurch Casino: Their obligation to return to the community is 2.5% of the total profit on all games or a minimum of NZ $ 250,000.
- SkyCity Queenstown: This casino offers at least 2.5% of their net profits or a paltry 100,000 per year.
- Sky City Wharf casino: Their obligation was to give 20% of net profits the first year after opening, which increased by 1% each following year until it reached the amount of 30%.
The Hamilton city council proposes that Gambling Commission check all random figures, and make new standards and minimum contribution levels. And not just for pokies profit but for all forms of gambling in NZ casinos.www.stuff.co.nz
SkyCity responded to Stuff
The councillor’s proposal was supported by Paula Snowden, chief executive of the Problem Gambling Foundation of New Zealand.
Snowden argues that the laws should be stricter towards casinos in New Zealand to justify the fact that money is being taken away from the community.
She added that although they claim to do a lot of sponsorship, it is mainly to promote their brand and show how they work well for the community, which is not true for her at all.
Sky City did not remain restrained, namely, they gave a statement to Stuff.
“SkyCity meets this commitment through its four community trusts, which fund a range of local and regional New Zealand organisations responsible for carrying out community assistance and development work with a focus on supporting families to thrive and communities to prosper.
SkyCity meets this commitment through its four community trusts, which fund a range of local and regional New Zealand organisations responsible for carrying out community assistance and development work with a focus on supporting families to thrive and communities to prosper.Sky City Ent.
Aftermath and final desicion
At today’s session, however, things calmed down, at least for Sky City, as the council withdrew from the proposal to tighten measures and set aside a larger portion of casino profits to the community.
This all happened thanks to Hamilton Deputy Mayor Geoff Taylor, who stated that although the charges are quite low casinos should not be compared to class 4 operators.
Casinos are private business and gambling is the same business, if they do not make enough profit then they would have no purpose and would harm their business.
Lots of good news for SKy City Entertainment this week, not only for their casino in Hamilton but for all the other sky city casinos in New Zealand. The online casino Sky City brand was not mentioned at today’s session.