SkyCity’s VIP Lounge Could Lose Smoking Privileges

SkyCity Auckland is stuck in the middle of a debate between the Cancer Society and the local government. The organization has challenged the government’s smoking ban policy and SkyCity’s VIP lounge could lose its indoor smoking privileges.

Despite New Zealand’s new indoor smoking ban rules, there are some areas that remain exempt. Patrons are not normally allowed to smoking inside casinos and other entertainment venues but the government’s definition of an ‘outdoor area’ has made it possible for the Diamond Lounge in SkyCity Auckland to allow players to smoke inside.

If the government redefines an outdoor area and it affects the Diamond Lounge, representatives state that they will not fight the decision. The casino will ban smoking in the VIP room, and officials state that the move will not have significant negative effects on its business. SkyCity has also refused to testify in the Cancer Society’s case against the government, so the operator is not entirely worried about losing profits as a result of banning smoking.

Nigel Morrison, chief executive of SkyCity, admits that he would like his casino to offer players the ability to smoke indoors, as many patrons are in fact smokers. However, he does understand that attitudes about smoking continue to change and that now could be the time for SkyCity to update its policies on the matter.

Pokies Spending in New Zealand Declines

Across New Zealand, politicians are throwing their support behind a new Harm Reduction Bill. This newly proposed legislation aims to reduce the potential harm that can be caused by pokies, by reducing the overall number of pokies in the country. Although the bill has yet to be passed, it seems to be working already, as Kiwis are spending less on poker machines.

According to statistics, pokies spending in New Zealand has dropped by 3.1% across the country. In 2011, New Zealand pokie players spent $866 million and these numbers dropped to $844 million by the time 2012 had ended.

Gaming experts speculate that the decline in pokies spending is likely due to the Harm Reduction Bill. Even though its provisions have yet to take effect, the bill has received a great deal of press in the local media. It has brought attention to the potential harms of poker machine gambling and it seems that this news alone was enough to get many residents to adjust their spending habits.

The drop in spending could also be attributed to the overall decline in poker machines across New Zealand. 463 pokies were removed from the community in 2012, as a result of local sinking lid policies. With fewer pokies to play, some residents are likely to have stopped playing altogether, contributing to the decline in spending.

SkyCity Auckland Player Faces Fines for Cheating

In casinos, millions of dollars are passed from player to player on a daily basis. So, it is no wonder that some casino staff and players feel the urge to take more than their fair share. Fortunately, New Zealand casino operators like Sky City are equipped with the sophisticated technology required to catch cheaters and their accomplices.

These sophisticated systems threw a wrench in the plans of Bo Du, a casino dealer that had worked at SkyCity for more than six years. She was only allowed to scam $50 000 from the casino by the time the casino operator discovered that she had been accepting cash gifts from patrons in return for manipulating the outcome of roulette games. She ensured that the ball dropped just before the betting ended, allowing her accomplices to wager on the correct outcome.

It did not take long before management discovered the operation. Du and several casino patrons were apprehended for their crimes. The former casino dealer was placed on house arrest and has been ordered to pay SkyCity $20 000 in damages. She has also been blacklisted from working at any other casino venue in the world. The penalties that the patrons received have yet to be announced.