Since 2004, the government has collected a problem gambling levy from all types of licenced gambling to fund the government’s spending on problem gambling. It was introduced along with the sinking lid on pokies (the more you look back, the better the fifth Labour Government looks, eh?).
The levy on SkyCity’s casinos is half what it is on pokies in pubs.
In 2010, officials recommended a rebalancing – more on TAB, Lotto, and casinos, less on pub pokies – to reflect both where the profits from gambling were being made and divert less money from community grants from pokies and Lotto. The Nats picked up the recommendations with one exception – SkyCity’s levy didn’t increase.
This was all going on at the same time as Key was personally approaching National’s old friends and some time donors at SkyCity to build a convention centre in exchange for relaxation of the restrictions on its cancerous activities and, then, not reviewing any of the competing bids before approving their offer.
In other news, SkyCity’s profits rose 17% to $78m last year.
Nothing to see here.