SkyCity Casino opens doors to help problem gamblers

By Mānia Clarke-Mamanu

In a first Auckland's SkyCity Casino has opened its doors to allow gambling help services to support problem gamblers. Hāpai Te Hauora says the unprecedented move allows them to give immediate help to those who are seeking support.

It's helping those playing roulette hope of a wealthier future.

“This is the largest casino in the country where problem gambling takes place” said Haylee Koroi of Hāpai Te Hauora.

“That's why we are here so we can see those who need help, who are gambling on gaming machines.”

There are 1140 gaming venues across the country, 3.4% less than before, latest stats show there is still a higher amount of monies spent at 15,000 gaming machines.

“We see ourselves as having a real responsibility in ensuring that those people who do come to our properties enjoy their time and see gambling as a form of entertainment and have fun with it,” said SkyCity Casino Support Services General Manager, Callum Mallet.

Pacific Islander adults have the highest gambling problem at 7.6 percent, Second are Māori at 6.3 percent.

An average of $56,500 a year was spent on gambling by people who can least afford it. The majority on community gaming machines, the second highest spent on gaming machines at casinos.

“With the lower its people stealing to gamble, stealing from their family to gamble, borrowing money with the intention always to pay it back,” said Siobhan Kemp of Salvation Army Gambling Harm Service.

“But often when people get down stuck down the rabbit hole of gambling, you lose everything.”

SkyCity Casino will work with gambling services again next year as part of Gambling Harm Awareness Week.