Sky City and the City of Auckland are still working out the details of their deal, which would see the casino operator build the city’s new convention centre in return for a number of new poker machines. A year after the deal was announced, the two parties are still working out the kinks, but both sides say that there is no reason to worry.
Onlookers have expressed concerns that a year passing in the negotiations process could mean negative things for the deal. Normally, it takes a few months to finalize the details of any gambling or development-related plans, but this is taking much longer than anyone had anticipated.
However, Economic Minister Steven Joyce has assured the public that there is nothing to worry about. He states that deals of this vastness take longer than most to work out:
“We’re asking a company to invest around $350 million, so it’s a pretty serious discussion”, Joyce says.
There is also some speculation that the new Harm Reduction Bill has created some obstacles. With the possibility that city councils can reduce the number of pokies in a city, it may compromise the key aspect of the deal: trading the construction of the casino for 500 new poker machines.