Auckland Council Passes Sinking Lid Policy

After months of deliberation, Auckland City Council has decided to passed a sinking lid policy on poker machines. Over the course of the next few years, Auckland will see a decline in the number of pokies throughout the country.

Councillors have spent the past few months reviewing submissions from other 10 000 sources. Responsible gambling group No More Pokies gathered 9000 submissions in support of the sinking lid policy, showing overwhelming support from local residents.

A number of provisions have been put in place in order to ensure that the number of pokies is reduced over time. Firstly, clubs owners that choose to relocate cannot take their pokies with them and they cannot offload the licenses to other operators. Clubs that merge can only host 5/6s of their combined poker machines; the rest of the games must be discarded.

Experts believe that problem gamblers will feel less compelled to engage in compulsive behaviour if there are fewer opportunities to gamble. As such, it is hoped that a decline in poker machine numbers will help to reduce gambling spending and problem gambling rates across Auckland.

SkyCity To Purchase Wharf Casino

SkyCity is expanding all over New Zealand’s gambling market. Last week, the casino operator introduced a bill that would expand SkyCity Auckland’s gambling license for another 20 years and is now making plans to purchase Lasseter’s Wharf Casino in Queenstown.

The Commerce Commission has recently granted SkyCity permission to purchase the gambling venue, which is currently owned by Otago Casinos. The acquisition of the casino will mean that SkyCity will own both casinos in Queenstown, but the Commerce Commission states that this will not negatively affect competition in the local gambling market.

SkyCity will further encourage competition by converting the Wharf Casino into a high roller venue. While SkyCity Queenstown caters to all types of gamblers, the new Wharf Casino will be targeted at players who are more interested in playing high-stakes games. This is a common business strategy for many local gaming operators, as VIP gambling is quite a lucrative market.

”We are focusing on upgrading our VIP offering in Queenstown, so we have an offer to complement our Horizon VIP offering in Auckland,” says CEO Nigel Morrison said.

The transition is still in its initial stages. There is no word yet on when SkyCity will begin renovating The Wharf Casino.

Sky City Convention Centre Bill Passes First Reading

Last week, SkyCity and Prime Minister John Key finalized their plans for the Auckland convention centre deal. The proposal was presented as a bill to the local senate, and passed its first reading – but not by very much.

The deal will see SkyCity build Auckland’s new convention centre, investing $402 million into the project. In return, the casino operator will receive an additional 230 poker machines for its Auckland location, a number of new table games and an extended gambling license.

Local residents have been sceptical of the deal since it was first revealed. The Greens and other political groups tried their hardest to lobby against the deal, but it was no use. The project’s negotiations continued and its legislation has passed its first read by a vote to 59 to 61.

SkyCity CEO Nigel Morrison believes that the bill has not been well-received due to supposedly slanderous media attention. He claims that his company’s reputation is being tarnished, despite the economic benefits that the convention centre will bring into the community.

The bill will be presented to senate for a second time in November 2013.

Las Vegas Sands to Launch Anti-Online Gambling Website

Last week, Las Vegas Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson made it known that he is opposed to online gambling. He stated that the industry is cancerous and toxic, and has recently decided to take his cause further by launching a new anti-online gambling website.

According to the Poker Players Association (PPA), Adelson has purchased the domain ‘’. On the homepage, there is a long message denouncing internet poker and online gambling – in line with the comments that were made by Adelson earlier in the week.

“Is it worth the societal and economic risk to produce more revenue for the government?” the message reads. “Internet gambling by definition will do away with tens of thousands of casino-based jobs and will take us down a slippery path from which we will never be able to turn back”.

The message also mentions that players of any age can gamble online and that identity theft is more likely in the digital world. There are plenty of arguments that oppose online gambling, and Adelson wants to make them all known.

There are also many benefits of legalizing online gambling, however. It is important to remember that there are two sides to the issue, and that Adelson’s arguments are not entirely truthful.

New Christchurch Casino May be a 24-Hour Venue

Christchurch Casino is currently in the process of building a new underground nightclub in a parking garage below the gambling venue. The new hot spot is expected to generate more business for the casino, and it is possible that it may be open 24 hours a day.

In Christchurch, local politicians have proposed the introduction of a local alcohol policy (LAP), which would stop all nightclubs from serving alcohol after 1am. Only nightclubs within the city centre would be able to serve alcohol until 3am – and Christchurch Casino would remain the only venue that is permitted to hold a 24-hour liquor license.

Since the new nightclub will be a part of the casino, the 24-hour liquor license has been extended to the venue. So, technically, it could serve alcohol all day. If the nightclub is permitted to stay open all day, it will be the second venue is Christchurch to serve alcohol 24-hours a day.

As it stands, the nightclub will be open to individuals over the age of 20. During off-peak times, it will be an all ages venue (for other types of events). The venue is also being booked for a wide range of events in 2014, including gala dinners, corporate events and fashion shows.