SkyCity’s Gambling Parents Discharged, One Convicted

Earlier this year, a huge scandal struck SkyCity Auckland, when security stumbled upon a van full of children, abandoned by their parents who had decided to spend the day gambling. The parents were arrested immediately, making headlines across the country – now, they have faced a local judge and decisions have been handed down for both the mother and the father, who have received name suppression.

Both parents were charged with child neglect – specifically, leaving a child under the age of 14 without supervision – but only one was convicted of the crime. The mother and the father were both discharged but only the mother got away without conviction. The father of the children has been found guilty of the crime, and his sentencing will take place later this year.

The judge’s reasons why only one party was convicted has not been revealed; however, some details about the court case have been shared, which shed some light on the situation. According to reports, the mother’s lawyer claimed that she is in the process of becoming a social worker, and a conviction would jeopardize her career plans. It seems unlikely that this argument is the entire reason she escaped conviction-free, but if the mother actually does have plans to become a social worker, she will need to set her priorities straight before pursuing this career path.

New Bill Wants Casinos to Pay Back Stolen Funds

Harm Reduction is a new strategy the New Zealand politicians are working on in order to curb problem gambling rates across the country. In the wake of the Harm Reduction Bill’s proposal, a number of other politicians have stepped forward, suggesting their own ways to improve the local gambling market.

Green Party member Metiria Turei has recently proposed the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act 2009 (Application to Casinos) Amendment Bill. This bill aims to prevent casinos from benefitting from crimes – namely theft used to fund addicts’ gambling habits.

“When problem gamblers are driven to crime everyone suffers except the casino, which pockets the profits,” Turei says.

As is the case with most other addictions, those suffering will often do whatever it takes to feed their habit. Sometimes, this includes stealing from friends, family and their employers. After their money is spent on their habit, the only one that benefits is the provider. In this case, it is the casino. Loved ones and co-workers are left without money while the addict is likely to end up in jail for their crimes.

Turei’s bill aims to put some of the onus on the casino operator. So, if a casino can detect that a crime has occurred in order to allow a patron to gamble, they must intervene. If they are discovered to have been able to detect a crime, the operator will be forced to return the funds to their rightful owners. The goal is to prevent casino operators from benefitting from crime, and this new bill may be successful in doing so.

Officials Want Ban on Inside Race Betting

New Zealand has one of the only racing jurisdictions in the world in which jockeys and drivers can wager on their own races. As you can imagine, this has caused a great deal of controversy over the years, and officials are fighting to have the rule amended.

There are a number of stipulations imposed on jockeys who wish to wager on their races. Firstly, they are only able to bet on their own horses and they must do so in an enclosed area for professionals only. All TabCorp account activity and phone records are required to be made available whenever requested by the RIU.

But this is not enough for Ross Neil, Co-Chief Executive of the Racing Integrity Unit, who has expressed his concern with the rules. He states that not everyone is comfortable with the fact that drivers and jockeys can wager on their own races. As an antiquated rule, Neil and his supporters have lobbied against it; however, they have been unsuccessful thus far.

“We are against jockeys and drivers being able to bet and we have lobbied against it,” says Neil.

He has gained a great deal of support from Cameron George, former head of the Racing Integrity Unit. During his time with the RIU, he attempted to change the rule. Unfortunately, the Thoroughbred Racing Board has declined the request. George has stated that the group have no given a viable reason why.

Sports Fight Harm Reduction Bill

The Harm Reduction Bill, authored by MP Te Ururoa Flavell, has seen a great deal of support thus far. Local residents and city councillors are confident that the bill will improve the community by reducing the potential harm that they could cause. Unfortunately, not everyone sees the bill this way, as sports organizations are fighting the proposed plan for Harm Reduction.

The provision that sports organizations are resisting is one that will give city councillors the right to decide how pokies funds are distributed. Sports groups believe that pokies trusts should be in charge of the funds rather than city councils, and are worried that they will lose their funding as a result of this change.

Hawke’s Bay Roller Derby is just the latest group to lobby against some of the changed proposed by the Harm Reduction Bill. The group states that pokies grants currently provide valuable funding for equipment and services required by players, and the roller derby could greatly suffer is funding were to be cut.

The news comes just days after the New Zealand Rugby Union announced that the Harm Reduction Bill would drive participation fees up by 500%. The group obtains more than 20% of its funding from pokies grants, and the loss of the resource would result in negative changes for the league.

The NZRU and the Roller Derby group are just two organizations that have made submissions opposing this provision. The commerce committee will review these documents this month and present them at a hearing in November.

Gus Hansen to Continue with Full Tilt Poker as Ambassador

Full Tilt Poker was previously one of the most-visited online poke sites by New Zealand poker fans. Players across the country are eagerly awaiting the site’s return on November 6, 2012, and the operator is taking big steps to ensuring that it is a monumental event. In addition to re-hiring much of its old staff, Full Tilt is enlisting in the help of some poker pros that were previously associated with the brand – with Gus Hansen returning as brand ambassador.

Gus was previously a member of Team Full Tilt with other big names like Tom Dwan and Phil Ivey. He is now the first pro to reignite his relationship with the brand, and he will be the new face of the company when Full Tilt Poker returns to the online gambling scene.

“I’m very excited to represent the industry’s most authentic poker brand,” Hansen says in a recent statement.

This time around, Full Tilt Poker plans on doing everything by the book. The company has enlisted in the help of a new management team, which will ensure that the brand complies with gaming laws in all jurisdictions. So, players from across New Zealand and around the world never have to worry about the site going belly up again.