Documents made public yesterday show officials were surprised in November 2011 when the casino operator suddenly put compensation on the table. It came after SkyCity made a series of ambitious demands in return for building the Auckland facility, including 850 more pokie machines and lowering of the gambling age to 18.
And they got only 230, and no change to the gambling age (I think it should be 18 regardless incidentally).
Here’s a comparison of what they asked for, and got:
- Perpetual extension of licence, got 27 year extension
- 853 extra pokie machines, got 230
- Lower gambling age to 18, stayed at 21
- 150 automated multi-player gambling tables, got 12
- $10 million a year to promote the convention centre, got nothing
- The ability to promote jackpoint draws, not agreed to
- Cashless pokie machines – agreed to
- Pokie machines that can take $100 notes – agreed to in restricted areas
I’d say the Government drove a pretty hard bargain. Also kudos to them for releasing all these documents in advance of OIA requests, and not trying to say they are commercially sensitive and unable to be released It is good to have this full transparency.