Prime Minister John Key has stated that casinos are a safer alternative to pubs which host poker machines. This seems to be his case for justifying the recent agreement he’s made with Sky City, offering the casino group more pokies in return for the construction of Auckland’s new convention and conference centre.
The deal will give Sky City the construction contract for the new convention centre, which is estimated at costing around $350 million. In return for this favour, the Prime Minister has allowed Sky City to install new poker machines in its local casinos. Key has yet to announce how many new poker machines will be permitted, but residents are already upset over the plan.
Across New Zealand, several groups have worked hard to impose a sinking lid policy on poker machines, decreasing the number of pokies across the country. Key’s new deal offsets and contradicts the policy, upsetting several politicians and responsible gambling groups.
However, John Key defends his actions by stating that it is more beneficial to install new pokies in casinos rather than pubs or gaming clubs, offering a safer environment for players. He states that the overall number of pokies will decrease while casinos in particular are able to install new machines – but very few residents are convinced.