The Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) in New Zealand launched an audit into SkyCity Casino’s business in Auckland back in 2019. The audit was finalized in 2021, but the results were released only recently. It comes as an unpleasant surprise that the audit found the casino failed in nine out of 10 areas of compliance, according to details released Monday.
New Report Claims Operator Failed to Identify Self-Excluded Gamblers
Earlier this week, Newshub released troubling details regarding a probe into SkyCity Casino, the biggest casino venue in New Zealand. The report described multiple “significant shortcomings”, despite previous reports urging SkyCity to take action and eliminate similar issues.
According to the report, SkyCity failed to identify gamblers that have self-excluded. Moreover, employees have shown “dismissive” behavior toward problem gambling. The white paper even pointed out that there was a “high likelihood” of underage individuals to have visited the casino floor.
The report revealed that half of the casino’s customers have joined a voluntary program that sought to monitor the time and money they spend at the venue. Despite the program, according to the report, those customers “breached their limits.” What is more worrying is that the DIA probe deemed as “deficient” the casino’s efforts to identify excluded or banned players.
Gamblers Play At the Pokies for Hours, without Interruption
Current regulations state that punters are encouraged to take 30-minute breaks after playing a slot machine for more than 5 hours. Regardless, the report pointed out one individual that has gambled for significantly more time, without being interrupted by SkyCity casino employees.
One self-excluded punter decided to play the pokies on two separate occasions. The first time, he gambled for 14.5 hours straight, while the second time, the duration nearly doubled. As a result, the second time the punter was gambling for 28 hours on the pokies without being asked to take a break as per the existing regulations.
But the news outlet went even further and decided to test that theory. A person undercover was sent to gamble at the pokies while recording the time he spent there. Overall, except for a few toilet breaks, the person gambled for nearly 6 hours. After the fifth hour, he wasn’t approached by casino staff to take a break. Feeling exhausted, the person left the casino floor and lost a total of $300.
“For someone to be able to sit at a pokie machine for 28 hours just should not be able to happen.”
Andree Froude, marketing and communications director at the Problem Gambling Foundation
The marketing and communications director of the Problem Gambling Foundation in New Zealand, Andree Froude, revealed that the findings of the DIA report are concerning. Moreover, she explained that a breach of host responsibility is observed in this case. Froude stressed that punters playing the pokies for 28 hours straight is something that shouldn’t happen.