SkyCity's host responsibility initiatives questioned

Saturday 28 April 2012, 3:35AM

By Problem Gambling Foundation of New Zealand


The Problem Gambling Foundation says the proposal by SkyCity to introduce host responsibility initiatives is a move to make the ‘convention centre for pokies deal’ more palatable.

SkyCity yesterday (April 26) announced ‘the company has been discussing its plans to further enhance its host responsibility programme with the Government as part of the negotiations to build a $350 million New Zealand International Convention Centre’.

Problem Gambling Foundation Chief Executive, Graeme Ramsey, says SkyCity is claiming to be the first gaming operator in New Zealand to introduce pre-commitment technology on its gaming machines.

“What they are actually proposing is voluntary pre-commitment. The evidence shows that this is not an effective host responsibility measure,” he says.

The Problem Gambling Foundation says for pre-commitment to work, it needs to be mandatory.

“Voluntary pre-commitment is not going to help a high-risk gambler as they don’t have to use it,” Graeme Ramsey says.

“For pre-commitment to be a successful tool for high risk or problem gamblers it must be mandatory.”

Graeme Ramsey says SkyCity already has the technology to  identify who is potentially high-risk and in need of monitoring, and who is high-risk and in need of help from host responsibility staff.

“Many of SkyCity’s regular gamblers have loyalty cards. These allow Skycity to monitor players and collect information for analysis. SkyCity has been analysing their loyalty card data for several years. Why do they not show us the results and tell us what proportion of their revenue comes from problem gambling and the demographics of problem gamblers in the casino?”

“SkyCity’s business model depends on problem gamblers as we know that conservatively 40 percent of money lost on pokie machines comes from people with a gambling problem,” Graeme Ramsey says.

“SkyCity is seeking to expand its gambling operation. They could demonstrate from their data the social costs already incurred by Aucklanders."