New Zealand


The deadline to finalize a deal between the government and SkyCity Entertainment Group Ltd. under which the gaming group would build a NZ$402 million ($324 million) convention center in exchange for permission to add capacity and regulatory concessions have been extended for two weeks. A study of the concessions, which include the addition of 40 tables and 230 slot machines, put their net present value at NZ$261 million-NZ$329 million. The deal will still need parliamentary approval and has come under criticism from some opposition legislators.



The New Zealand Gambling Commission approved applications by SkyCity Casino in Auckland to add two new smoking areas. SkyCity however will still need approval to use the new areas for gambling. Nigel Morrison, the parent company's chief executive, had complained that Australia's smoking laws were more attractive for Chinese gamblers.



The Health Ministry's problem gambling strategy forecast that spending on lottery games will rise 8 percent between 2012 and 2016 due to bigger jackpots attracting interest. The report said wagering on racing and sports betting would rise 6.6 percent while casino spending would grow just 2.3 percent. Spending on gambling machines in pubs, the country's main form of gambling, is expected to fall slightly to $849 million a year from $854 million in the last fiscal year.


Spending on gambling machines in New Zealand pubs and clubs fell 7.9 percent in the January-March quarter from a year earlier to NZ$197.7 million ($168.7 million). Government figures showed that the number of machines in operation fell 2.5 percent to 17,542 while the number of venues declined by a similar margin to 1,367. Officials counted six fewer license holders, at 353. 



Members of the St. Kilda Saints, the Australian rules football club team, were forced to cover up the name of sponsor Centrebet on their uniforms for a match in Wellington because of a New Zealand law banning the promotion of offshore gambling services. Violators can be fined NZ$10,000 ($ 8,400). Presidian, a finance company, substituted as the uniform sponsor for Australia's Centrebet.



Officials recorded a steep rise in incidents of children left unattended around the SkyCity casino in Auckland in 2012. Newly released figures showed a rise in such cases to 64 in 2012 from 19 in 2009. Last year's cases involved 96 children, including one incident in which five children aged between five months and 8 years old were left in a van in the casino carpark for 45 minutes while the children's mother and her partner gambled inside. The partner was convicted and discharged in the case.