Sky Falling on SkyCity Following Further Failings in Responsible Gambling

By Ralph Trayfalgar, Updated:

The SkyCity Entertainment Group has fallen under greater regulator scrutiny following a recent investigation that found serious failings in its responsible gambling practices. 

SkyCity casino was the next subject in a series of investigations launched by the Department of Internal Affairs on casino operators. The DIA’s audit, which started in 2019 but only finished last year, discovered that the operator had failed to properly enforce responsible gambling standards with several egregious violations. 

Most notable of these is allowing entry of a gambler who was on a self-exclusion list into SkyCity’s Auckland venue. Said gambler had reportedly played for over 14 hours in one instance and 28 hours in another before casino staff thought to intervene. 

The audit also found that certain casino staff had a "dismissive attitude" toward responsible gambling, and the facility failed to conduct risk assessments on a regular basis. It also revealed that more than half of the people who signed up for gaming time limitations were able to bet much above the limits that had been set in place.

The DIA also noted that there was a "high chance" that minors were able to enter the casino and bet without being detected.

A Reckoning for NZ Casinos

Jan Tinetti, New Zealand's Minister of Internal Affairs, said in an interview with NewsHub that the shocking results of these recent audits could lead to a full-blown investigation into the country’s real money casino industry as a whole.

Officials are already looking for ways to rein down the use of pokie games, which can be found in local taverns and other establishments. Due to SkyCity's failures, gambling bin New Zealand may have the potential to drastically shift. 

Meanwhile, Skycity claims that it has already implemented improvements to address the issues identified. A spokesperson for the company indicated that the audit resulted in the revision of rules and processes relating to responsible gaming. The company is also exploring an increase in the usage of face recognition technology, as well as enhanced training throughout the organization to mitigate any concerns.

This isn't the first time SkyCity has failed an audit. Currently, Tinetti is investigating why the DIA has not taken any significant action against the corporation. That most likely implies SkyCity may begin arranging its financial resources immediately in order to meet any fines that may be imposed in the near future. 

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