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The Standard

Pokies: the crack cocaine of gambling

Written By: - Date published: 10:09 am, April 21st, 2012 - 111 comments
Categories: capitalism, class war, crime - Tags: , ,

A sad story in the Herald today of a man who got hooked on pokies. He spent all his money on them at pubs and SkyCity. Started borrowing from family and partners. Destroyed those relationships. Now lives in a car despite his large income. Started taking deposits from clients and not doing the work.

Don’t listen to the shills* who say ‘what’s the harm in the few more machines’? SkyCity wouldn’t want more machines if it wouldn’t get more business because of them. SkyCity’s boss wants more pokies because “if you come here on a Wednesday night [pay day] or a Friday night, the property is full… We clearly want to expand our business. There is clearly demand for it”

Key wants to let these scumbags addict more people to their gambling machines. They want to profit from destroying more lives, fueling more crime, and we get some shitty convention centre that won’t even pay for itself in return.

What’s next? An opera house built by drug dealers in exchange for our very own Hamsterdam?

This shit can still be stopped. The Government only has a one vote majority on this. John Banks, who is known to oppose gambling having seen what crime did to his family growing up, can vote against this dirty deal and save families from the experience he went through.

And the opposition needs to get stuck in too. They need to make clear that any legislative favours that National gives SkyCity will be reversed as a matter of priority in 2014/15. They also should take a leaf from the South Australian Treasurer, who responded to SkyCity’s ‘convention centre for law changes’ offer there by telling them they were “dreaming” and threatening to repeal their gambling licence.

The Greens and Labour need to not just oppose SkyCity’s expansion but to ask themselves why SkyCity’s cancer should be allowed to exist at all in the heart of our cities.

*(and how many of those shills are being paid by SkyCity, like Mike Hosking, or given special treatment as VIPs, or have other conflicts of interest, like Paul Holmes?)

PS. it turns out the 800 jobs promised by SkyCity from the white elephant convention centre is grossly inflated – twice what the larger centre in Melbourne employs and four times what other bidders said they would employ.

111 comments on “Pokies: the crack cocaine of gambling”

  1. Kevin 1

    Just another example of Herald tabloidism… This story has obviously been written by someone interviewing their keyboard. Not a single fact anywhere – a figment of someone’s imagination!

    [are you really claiming that the whole story was invented? If so, you should back up your talk and complain to the Press Council. Eddie]

  2. freedom 2

    “John Banks, who is known to oppose gambling having seen what crime did to his family growing up, can vote against this dirty deal and save families from the experience he went through.”

    see that’s what the world needs, optimism !!

    (w/respect to the Zet )

  3. aerobubble 3

    Just to be clear here, John Key has been rewarded by past law that removed the pollution of communities caused by pokies, and he is now setting the precedent that he can repollute by selling the option to pollute (pokies to Sky Cty).

    Every activist who wins a cause be warned, its not the first time Key has gone back on good faith understandings (e.g. mining). Key must be made to understand that increasing pokies and redirecting pokey profits to private investors, is directly opposed to the will of the people who want less pokies and money that does come from them directed to community causes.

    With National they will go back on what the community decides, often directly targeting those aims of communities, because there is ‘value’ accrued by virtue of the efforts of those communities. National take grassroots democracy and destroy their effectiveness by monetizing the benefit those grass roots groups have created.

    Welcome to the vulture capitalism party. e.g. Farmers grow the best of the best dairying industry in the world, Key and National target this profitable center and open the doors right up and down the dairy industry chain, from foreigners owning farmland, to lock stock and fully take over of Fonterra where rich land owners (some foriegn) who can buy debt of other Fonterra farmers.

    National represent the people who make profits from others labour by raiding companies, and nations, and stripping the assets to sell to the market, they represent the 100% investor party who never have to worry about pollution, debt, global warming, etc, because they just shift their fat weight over to the next hole in the dyke and wait to sell off the leak for a profit.

  4. Ed 4

    There have been comments about a lower proportion of amounts bet going towards taxes or community charities from casino pokie machines than from other pokie machines in local communities. Does anyone have a reference for that? Simple fairness suggests that the percentages should be the same; and that those community trusts also be totally independent of the operators of the machines.

    If Sky do not comply with their side of the deal regarding the creation of the promised jobs perhaps it would be reasonable for the number of licences to then be reduced.

    The discrepancy in staffing levels should have rung alarm bells with the public servants assessing the bids – or are lies able to be bought off for them as well?

    • freedom 4.1

      off the top of my head community trusts have to pay 37%, casino pays only 2.7 % ?

      • Treetop 4.1.1

        I have not once heard from Key’s mouth that the 2.5% that Sky City pay in community grants will be increaded to 37% which all bars with pokie machines payout in community grants.

        Pokie machines are the P (methamphetamine) of gambling, crack cocaine is not as addictive as P.

        Key’s policy is pushing P in the community.

        Will Banks have the backbone to stand up to Key when it comes to creating more hardened pokie addicts?

        Note: It is my view that pokie machines in casinos create more hardened pokie addicts as in a local bar the max bet is $2.50 a spin and the max spin limit is much higher in a casino.

        Does anyone know what the max spin bet on a casino pokie machine is?

      • The Baron 4.1.2

        This keeps coming up. My understanding, and I have no references, is that SkYCity pays the same 37% off pokie machines as everyone else; but because pokies are a small part of their business, the percentage drops against the entire gambling revenues SC brings in.
        On that basis, this could well be apples for apples – just that charities see nothing from the Blackjack/Roulette/Poker tables etc. Someone could probably check all this rather easily – I simply can’t be assed.
        For clarity, this isn’t any apologise from me. Casinos are more trouble than they’re worth, AFAIC.

        • Draco T Bastard 4.1.2.1

          Casinos are more trouble than they’re worth, AFAIC.

          Well, that’s something we agree about.

        • Treetop 4.1.2.2

          I cannot find a link to support my statement but I wrote this down the other day when I heard it on the 6 pm news. Sky City give 2.5% profit back to the community or 0.8% of revenue. Gaming trusts give 37% of revenue back to the community. Sky City have a sweetheart tax deal and there are a number of links to support this statement.

          • The Baron 4.1.2.2.1

            If you’re referring to the discrepancy between 2.5 and 37% as a sweetheart deal, then as I’ve pointed out above you may be incorrect.
            There’s plenty not to like about this. Don’t do the argument a disservice by being lazy and jumping at things that may not stack up. Outrage only really works when you’re solid on your facts.

            • freedom 4.1.2.2.1.1

              here is the very first google search result for “skycity 2.5%”
              http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1204/S00212/deeply-unpopular-skycity-deal-may-involve-425-new-pokies.htm

              ” while other New Zealander providers of pokie machines are required to give approximately 37% of their takings to the government’s New Zealand Lotteries Commission to be given to charity, SKYCITY pays just 2.5% of its net profit to the private Sky City Auckland Charitable Trust.”

              Scoop’s integrity in reporting facts can hardly be questioned.

              Since it came up, What does SkyCity Auckland Charitable Trust do with all that money?

              since the opening date, February 2, 1996, the trust has donated the approximately $25 Million to 1300-1550 different charities and organisations. I say approximately because based on the Trust’s own website they themselves seem a bit confused.
              http://www.skycityauckland.co.nz/About-Us/Community.html
              http://www.skycityauckland.co.nz/About-Us/Community.html

              [$25 million] is certainly a lot of money over fifteen years, almost $2million per annum. Put against their paltry annual revenue of roughly $400 million we can see why they can only afford to pay 2.5%.

              • The Baron

                You’re missing the point. It’s really not that complicated.
                SC can still be paying the same 37% on pokies AND 2.5% on their overall. This is because their business is far more diversified than pokies.
                Do you know that that isn’t the case?

                • Treetop

                  I have not misunderstood your question. I rewatched part of The Nation this morning and Garner referred to the 2.5 and 37% being a tax. Then he made a comment that Sky City could be asked to pay the same. I am assuming that Sky City pay 2.5% tax on pokie machines and community trusts pay 37% on pokie machines as the profit Sky City makes appears to be coming from pokie machines.

                  May be Key can clarify “SC can still be paying the same 37% on pokies AND 2.5% on their overall.”

                  I would also like to ask Key how much the max spin bet will be on just one extra Sky City pokie machine?

                  A non casino pokie machine max spin bet is $2.50 and a casino pokie machine max spin bet is $100 (possibly more) or 40 non casino machines make $100 per max spin compared to 1 casino machine makes $100 per max spin.

                  I agree with you on how important the actual facts are and that they need to be known.

            • seeker 4.1.2.2.1.2

              @The Baron

              Try this link to back up Treetop’s comment concerning the 2.5% v 37%. Skycity does not pay the same as others as it is not a charity. It is its own “charity” and it’s profits go to it’s
              beneficiary shareholders apparently.

              http://ondemand.tv3.co.nz/Campbell-Live-Thursday-April-19-2012/tabid/119/articleID/6232/MCat/73/Default.aspx

              • seeker

                Sorry Baron, didn’t add to my above TV3 Campbell Live link that the section concerning the pokies starts at about 7mins 20secs.. in.

              • Treetop

                Thank you for posting the link. I am on dial up so I did not check this as a source even though I knew I heard the info on the link.

                Everyone is entitled to have an opinion and to debate it or have it challenged.

        • lprent 4.1.2.3

          Casinos are more trouble than they’re worth, AFAIC.

          That is a first – we agree on something 😈

    • bad12 4.2

      ”The discrepancy in staffing levels should have rung alarm bells with the public servants assessing the bids-or are lies able to be bought off for them as well”?,

      Ed, good question,the answer= our Prime Minister Slippery by His own admission told the ‘public servants’ tasked to assess the efficacy of a ‘convention center’ to cease work upon the project,

      So,the ‘public servant’ at the center of all of this then became the Prime Minister and His office,I have forgotten the name of the particular individual,a close member of the Prime Ministers 9th floor staff who also has close and deep personal links to those who manage the Skycity New Zealand casino,but, it is obvious that between Him and our Slippery Prime Minister the present ‘deal’ was concocted,

      As to being ‘bought’ off over the lies so far told, I have no evidence of anyone having as yet discovered the money trail and could hardly comment until such time as that money trail is found…

  5. Rodel 5

    Is JK’s attitude..’Nuthing wrong wif gamblin’ is there? i’m r’laxed ’bout it an’ i got rich doin’ it di’nt I?
    Wassa problim?

    • Johnm 5.1

      Rodel
      Key made his dinero pile gambling as a currency speculator for the Ponzi outfit Merrill Lynch in the completely financially unregulated London office.
      London, The City, is infamous for its lack of any control over shady , insider, manipulative scam finance.

  6. RedLogix 6

    The booze barons, the ciggy killers, the money-men and gambling goons.. despicable parasites all of them. Why mince around ‘legalities’… these people get fat off the misery of others. Scum.

    As is our Prime Minister who cuts fat insider deals with them.

    • DH 6.1

      Yep. Our gambling laws were put there for a reason and unless the reasons are no longer valid then there’s no justification in changing them. It’s noticeable that Key & his corrupt mob haven’t even addressed the law & why it’s there.

      Much of Sky City’s restrictions revolved around their monopoly casino right which is also entrenched in our law. This is just giving them more monopoly rights to fleece people.

      This particular Convention centre is all about benefiting Sky City, they’re the ones who plan to rake in most of this promised extra tourist spending. It’s not just the pokies, everything in the design of their centre will be aimed at channeling convention business into the casino. They’ll incorporate easy access walkways to the casino in the building design, big windows facing the casino where neon signs catch the attention, signs & promotions everywhere, the usual marketing tricks that subtly nudge people towards their den of iniquity.

  7. ianmac 7

    Two things.
    1. If the pokie machines were off the table would there still be the huge concern?

    2. The Key interview with John Campbell last night on Campbell Live was a big surprise to me. Key dropped all pretence of mumbling, mis-speaking, dissembling and put his position forcefully and persistently. (He pointed to the same case being laid out in 2009 and no one had even noticed.)

    I am confused but adamantly against selling the law and against pokies.

    • Treetop 7.1

      I watched The Nation this morning on TV 3, (repeated at 8 am tomorrow). I also saw the Key Campbell interview last night. Key did not front on The Nation (the Sky City deal and how implicated Key is was discussed at length). Shearer also was interviewed and the best by far I have seen of him in front of the camera.

      1. The huge concern is increasing pokie addicts and any cost to the government for the build of the convention centre, (never mind the cost of new much more hardened addicts). Shearer does not want a change in the casino laws, he wants a retendering process of a national convention centre and for pokie machines to be decreased further in the community.

      2. In 2009 I doubt that Key let slip that Sky City has been to the District Court and High Court over 80 times due to restrictions in the Gambling Act. I need to check if 500 pokie machines were mentioned in 2009 and not just tweaking the law. Key says that pokie machines have been reduced in the community by several thousand but he does not say that the max spin bet on a casino pokie machine is $100 and possibly more.

      I wonder how many times Sky City have been to the District Court or High Court regarding restrictions in the Gaming Act since their meetings with Key?

      • DH 7.1.1

        Re 2. It was reported that Sky City haven’t taken any more court action from the day National got into power. Not sure how true that is but it would be very interesting to see a timeline graph of their court actions.

        • deuto 7.1.1.1

          Treetop and DH, I have just searched out the Herald article on this aspect that I recalled seeing earlier in the week, as IMO this is an important aspect to this whole dirty deal. As DH says, according to the Herald, Sky City have taken no court action since 2009 – ”

          Sky City wooed government after court failures”

          http://www.nzherald.co.nz/index.cfm?objectid=10799633

          • DH 7.1.1.1.1

            Ta. This bit tells it all….

            “But the courts found the casino’s argument went against the intent of the law, which forbade any increase in opportunities for gambling.”

            Like all of our laws it has an intent and Key has thrown that intent out the window for a few pieces of silver. This really is dangerous territory for NZ IMO.

          • Treetop 7.1.1.1.2

            “SkyCity has not filed a court challenge since the National Government came to power in 2008.”

            Source link in 7.1.1.1 above

            I have to ask myself why not?

            It would not be in the interest of Sky City to bring attention to itself when meeting with politicians to negotiate/influence changes in the Gambling Act.

            For every pokie machine that is taken out of the community and added to Sky City, the damage of a Sky City pokie machine is 40 machines to one in the community.

            Community machine max bet is $2.50.
            Sky City machine max is $100. (Possibly even more).
            100 Sky City machines = 4000 community machines.
            You do the math on 200, 300, 400, 500 Sky City machines.

            Profit going back to the community is reduced by 34.5% if the 2.5 and 37% figures are used which community trusts get.

            Key has commented about Labour being soft on gambling. Drongo talk.

      • Treetop 7.1.2

        Correction in 7.1 paragraph 3 required on line 1. Sky City has been to the NZ Gambling Commission and not the District or High Court 86 times due to restrictions in the Gambling Act.

    • Draco T Bastard 7.2

      2. The Key interview with John Campbell last night on Campbell Live was a big surprise to me. Key dropped all pretence of mumbling, mis-speaking, dissembling and put his position forcefully and persistently.

      When you’ve got your line memorised then it’s easy to say them forcefully and persistently. The thing that I noticed about that interview is that he didn’t have a single argument in favour of his position.

      • ianmac 7.2.1

        DTB.I guess on top of the Casino thing, there is the difference of persona. Sure Key had his lines memorised but his fluency was a huge change from those awful deliveries of set speeches and the fuzzy rambling of previous so called interviews. Wolf in sheep’s clothing by his previous deliveries?
        It does present him as a ruthless personality rather than an amiable friendly guy next door. Dunno.

        • seeker 7.2.1.1

          I think Cambell got the full -frontal -Forex trader/sales man treatment. Horrible to watch in it’s mesmerising, caught like a possum in the head lights, mind stunning while being manipulated by a horrendous and probably corrupting seduction effect. Even you were confused Ianmac.

          http://www.3news.co.nz/John-Key-on-the-Crafar-farm-and-Sky-City-deals/tabid/367/articleID/251223/Default.asp

          Campbell did try to fight back early on in the interview when Key tried to say that Kiwis did not want the Crafar deal because they didn’t like the Chinese. Campbell tried to stop Key on this saying this was not true, it was foreign ownership Kiwis did not like and to say otherwise was “underhand and disingenuous” . Key stopped for a second to say he wasn’t being underhand and disingenuous and than carried on, in his well rehearsed reasonable, “trader/dealer tone “, to be ……..underhand and disingenuous, by repeating his scripted mantra that Kiwis did not like the Chinese. After that it was full steam ahead on the “get them to believe you and trust you at any cost, then exploit them ” Key express.

          Campbell had tried to stop Key earlier when key tried to obfusticate and imply that if his Government had not taken the Crafar deal they would have been breaking the law! BUT,Cambell missed a beat, tried to head him off at the “underhand” point above and failed! It was down hill all the way after that. The ‘pokie’ questions gathered no moss.

          Moral of this sad tale of ‘the dealer that got away’- don’t let them get away with even the tiniest detail- question, pursue, question,follow up, pursue, and demand answers and don’t let them get away with a script. (Mike Hosking did this well once – ironic, considering his links to SkyCity!)
          Slippery people need to be impaled on a truth stick.

          • Uturn 7.2.1.1.1

            Key’s best argument seemed to be that because Campbell and the media in general was crap at their job and didn’t pull him up in 2009, it was ok for Key to do as he pleased now. Classic Godwin stuff.

  8. Nick K 8

    Zetetic thinks the convention centre will be a white elephant. So what? It’s Sky City’s money, and its shareholders. If you think it’s gonna lose money hand over fist then don’t buy shares in Sky City and don’t use it. I’ll tell you what is a white elephant – Kiwi Rail. Purchased by Michael Cullen for an grossly inflated amount. The convention centre is using no public money. Why are you against a shark like Sky City losing money? If it loses money it might go out of business and then there are no pokies.

    [Another damaged RWNJ fuckwit who doesn’t understand the difference between book value and market value. ..RL]

    • Draco T Bastard 8.1

      The convention centre is using no public money.

      The taxpayers will be the ones paying to clean up the mess that SkyCity creates so, yes, it will be using public money – just not directly.

    • infused 8.2

      Fuckwit… such good manners there RL. Leading by example again.

      • RedLogix 8.2.1

        The “Cullen paid too much for Kiwirail’ is a perenial RWNJ fuckwit argument that has been trashed over and again. I feel no need to waste good manners on it.

        • infused 8.2.1.1

          Maybe, but at the same time, you are trashing this place too. I don’t understand why a considerable number of mods/admins/whatever here feel the need to do this, when they tell people not to do it.

          Case of do what I say, not what I do.

          [ Your concern is duely noted…RL]

          [lprent: You still haven’t read the policy yet have you? Here, I will help your hapless arse out..

          We encourage robust debate and we’re tolerant of dissenting views. But this site run for reasonably rational debate between dissenting viewpoints and we intend to keep it operating that way.

          What we’re not prepared to accept are pointless personal attacks, or tone or language that has the effect of excluding others.

          Where in there does it say that we want to conform to your twee manners? Just because you are a fool who wants to hide behind some kind of fake politeness does not mean that the rest of us are required to follow your dickhead ways.

          And that is for commentators. Moderators are explicitly told to be quite immoderate if they have to expend effort on someone. That especially applies for arguments that are raised that have been endlessly raised before, refuted, and are generally used by morons who are too dumb to realize that repetition is not the answer to everything. They just cause flamewars and the standard way to fight any fire is to firebreak it. In a blog setting that is pointing out that it isn’t tolerated. ]

  9. Treetop

    I agree with you on Shearer’s performance on TV.

    But if that’s the best he can do somebody should get hold of him and show him how to handle it.
    He can do better I’m sure.
    Please, he has got to, to show himself as the next New Zealand Prime Minister.

  10. infused 10

    Key murdered Campbell last night.

    • RedLogix 10.1

      Because he knew he was fighting for his political life.

    • Draco T Bastard 10.2

      He failed to make any valid points while talking over Campbell. In fact, he brought up the false argument of racism again despite that this has been proven wrong several times.

      • seeker 10.2.1

        @Infused

        “Key murdered Campbell last night”

        Not just Campbell but the entire country with his profligacy. He has to go -or go and be treated for
        his ‘Prime Ministerial dysfunctional behaviour’ condition.

  11. Dave G 11

    It seems suddenly, readers and the Journo’s want the Government to BAN anything that MIGHT cause personal harm through the choices one makes.

    This gentleman could have simply sought help, turned off the internet, stayed home, and stopped. Hard yes, but achievable, compared to those with cancer, and heart disease etc etc.

    There is something called personal responsibility, its about taking care of ones own destiny, something the bleeding lefties seem to forget. Lets look at the overall benefit to NZ and the community froth convention centre and a few more Pokies, remembering there care still LESS than under the Clark led Labour government- its bloody massive, 1000 Jobs under construction, almost $100 mill every year, international exposure, and many more benefits for the hundreds of small businesses than supply goods and services to the Convention centre in construction, tourism, hospitality, services, food, cleaning etc etc………. The list goes on and on.

    If the Standard and left leaning Journo’s take this to the extreme, we would ban all cars, as someone might get hurt, someone might suffer. We would be far better spending the effort over this person, on helping a cancer sufferer, or the elderly. No one has complained yet, this convention centre is likely to serve alcohol, and MY GOD, there could be a car crash from that, someone might be injured. Yes, its a possibility.

    Please – find the guy, offer him a hand, and others like them. Move him to Ruatoria, or Nightcaps, no internet, mobile phone etc, and give him a crossword to do every day. Might improve his grasp of the english language as well.

    • RedLogix 11.1

      Like all right wingers you’re big on personal repsonsibility when your talking about other people’s problems.

      The casino makes money ultimately off the loss and misery of others. They happily take big big bucks off these people… but as always are very silent on taking responsibility for the consequences of their own actions.

      • Dave G 11.1.1

        No, they DO NOT take the money of them, these people GIVE their money readily, as they take a calculated risk.

        FYI I am not right wing, i actually have supported labour in the past, but can’t abide by either poor leadership (which labour have suffered from for years) or those who want a nanny state to look after anything and everything while they drink smoke and gamble themselves to deaths door. Illness is one thing, addiction is another.

        • RedLogix 11.1.1.1

          Well I’ll take your word about not being a rightie then. In my world if you make money off doing something, then you are responsible for the consequences… intended or otherwise.

          Many years ago I dated a woman who was a perfectly responsible and capable person, with her own home, family and professional career. By no stretch could you describe her as a ‘weak-willed loser’… quite the opposite I dare say.

          But one evening out she as we entered a pub she told me quite clearly that if I found that later that she was in front of one of the pokie machines in the side-room… I was to absolutely strong-arm her out of the place. Fortunately it didn’t come to it that evening, but for her it was a risk she was going to have to live with the rest of her life. She loathed the sodding things and everything to do with them.

          And yes, like almost all addicts, she hadn’t gotten to that point of responsibility without hitting rock-bottom first.

          But of course the owners and operators of these vile machines NEVER take any effective responsibility for the consequences of what THEY are doing. They hide behind the exact same argument you are using Dave.

        • joe90 11.1.1.2

          these people GIVE their money readily,

          Oh really, their money?.

    • Colonial Viper 11.2

      There is something called personal responsibility, its about taking care of ones own destiny, something the bleeding lefties seem to forget.

      I’d like to see the Board and senior management of SkyCity take some personal responsibility for the den of misery they run.

      When’s that going to happen, buddy?

    • Treetop 11.3

      Dave G you are correct in saying that there are now less pokie machines about than when Clark was PM. May be this is part of the plan to dupe the public in order for Key to get a national convention centre paid for by Sky City. In my above post 7.1.1.1.2 I point out that one casino pokie machine is = to 40 non casino pokie machines. I am left thinking how far back the Sky City deal with the government may have been raised as Sky City have not filed any court action to increase gambling at Sky City since the National Government were elected in 2008.

  12. unpcnzcougar 12

    Out of the tens of thousands of people who go through the casino every year, exactly how many are addicts? Can someone answer this. And will 500 more machines create more or will the number of addicts remain the same?

    The benefit of having SkyCity build a convention centre which costs the tax payer nothing will result in a massive benefit to tourism and the Auckland economy.

    • r0b 12.1

      upc – this stuff is well known:

      However, Problem Gambling Foundation chief executive Graeme Ramsey said research showed for every gaming machine, there was 0.8 of a problem gambler.

      “So it’s almost one for one. There’s a very clear correlation between availability of machines and the number of machines, and the number of problems.”

      Forty per cent of the money lost in machines came from people with gambling problems.

      “The harm from gambling is all about pokie machines. For over 70 per cent of people who come to us, it’s about pokies.”

      THe benefits look good – but only if you don’t count the costs.

      • unpcnzcougar 12.1.1

        Thanks Rob. I like numbers – research not so much. I do gamble myself. We peaked at 25221 machines in 2003, during 2008 – 2011 they declined from 19739 to 18001 so if they go to the max of an extra 500 which I don’t believe they will due to public pressure then that is 18501 below what they were when Key came to power and well below the peak of 25221 in 2003.

        So if the research is correct then the addicts would have decreased since 2003 – yes?

        • Kotahi Tane Huna 12.1.1.1

          Specious arguments to defend the indefensible.

          There is no argument that says that selling New Zealand legislation (ie: sovereignty) is anything other than rank treachery. There is no argument that says that an increase in misery is a good thing.

          There is no rock for this corrupt Prime Minister to hide under.

        • Treetop 12.1.1.2

          It is not just about bums on pokie machine seats, it is about how quick the money is taken. Government will not restrict Sky City to have the same bet per spin as played on a non casino pokie machine as pokie player/addicts can do the rounds else where.

      • Dave G 12.1.2

        And, of course that is properly researched and the research is audited, not just the ramblings of the CE pushing his organization.

        Please think carefully. Lets establish the Problem drivers foundation, and the Problem Smokers Foundation and take the same tact.

        “So it’s almost one for one. There’s a very clear correlation between driving and crashes. Every 10 km travelled by a drunk driver results in an injury accident. We propose to ban all cars and make people walk everywhere so there can’t be accidents from drunks driving cars….

        Better still, It’s almost one for one. There is an undeniable correlation between smoking and Cancer. 80% of Smokers suffer cancer at some point in their lives, and this not only destroys their lives, it severely effects the lives of those around them, and costs the country billions a year in health and other costs. Let’s BAN all smoking.

        Get real people, fix the cause, not the effect – I challenge all the smokers to admit is is bad for them, and give up prior to commenting on the gambling issue. its not nearly as serious as smoking!!

    • Colonial Viper 12.2

      In other words, having a few casualties from Key’s gambling plans, most of whom are from the poorer part of town, is no problem.

      • unpcnzcougar 12.2.1

        Originating from the poorer part of town myself and now living in a “nicer” part of town I can say one thing for certain. People do what they’re going to do anyway. Adding more machines is not going to create a traffic jam on the southern motorway. The machines are never full. You saw my stats – yet you chose not to comment on those. Why not? The peak of machines was under a Labour Government. Auckland needs a convention centre. Sometimes roads need to be built and houses have to go. People drink and drive. People do what they’re going to do.

        • DH 12.2.1.1

          You seem a little confused here. Auckland doesn’t need a convention centre, it wants one. Just like Auckland wants another harbour crossing, more roads, better public transport… etc etc. Want & need have very different definitions.

          In terms of economic benefits to Auckland a Convention Centre doesn’t even show on the radar, it simply isn’t important to the Auckland economy whether we get it or not. So it might bring in a few million dollars more. Whoopee, big fucking deal. GDP in NZ is some $170billion and Auckland accounts for a large part of that so lets get some scale here.

    • Draco T Bastard 12.3

      The benefit of having SkyCity build a convention centre which costs the tax payer nothing…

      It won’t cost nothing – it will cost the destruction of the lives of several hundred people.

      • unpcnzcougar 12.3.1

        Please explain.

      • DH 12.3.2

        It will cost taxpayers and/or ratepayers a fortune. What the glib-talking salesmen have forgotten to tell people is that the centre will run at a substantial loss in at least the first 3-5 years of operation… if it ever does make a profit.

        The report by MED on the convention centre mentioned that the big conventions that will make us all rich beyond our wildest dreams are normally booked 4-5years in advance. Auckland won’t get many big booking confirmations until the centre is near completion so we’ll have a good 3-4years of big operating losses to pay for before we start seeing the promised thousands of conventioners and their big spending antics. Guess who’ll be paying for that.

        • higherstandard 12.3.2.1

          “Guess who’ll be paying for that.”

          Sky city and their shareholders ?

          • DH 12.3.2.1.1

            Don’t be stupid. Sky City are only paying for the building, they’re not funding the operating costs.

            • higherstandard 12.3.2.1.1.1

              I think you’re mistaken, have you got a link to confirm your comment ?

              • DH

                Give it some thought mate. If Sky City run the centre then they control the downstream business; all this wonderful tourist spending they’re yapping about. The convention space is the first thing that gets booked. The organisers of conventions like having a package offered to them to save hunting around for accommodation, dining & all that goes with conventions.

                Hand control over to Sky City and the conventioners would stay in Sky City hotels, eat at Sky City Restaurants, entertain at Sky City Casino…. yada yada yada. Auckland would really benefit from all that wouldn’t it.

                • higherstandard

                  Well most large conferences I have attended overseas have a range of accommodation choices along with various add on options for excursions the vast amount of which have little or nothing to do with the convention centre or convention itself.

                  As I enquired before, do you have any reliable information to back on your assertion that Sky City is only paying for the building and not funding the operating costs ?

                  If so this would be a poor deal for Auckland ratepayers.

                  • DH

                    I worded that wrong. I meant Sky City wouldn’t be funding *all* the operating costs, there will be Govt subsidies in various forms. Eddie has another post covering it.

                    It goes without saying that the Govt will want some measure of influence over the operation of the centre. Sky City aren’t building just a convention centre, to them it’s also a regular supply of fresh meat for their casino & other operations. The 500 pokies is likely the amount of new casino business they predict the centre will bring in.

                    Only way the Govt can exert some influence is by ponying up some of the running costs.

  13. seeker 13

    @Dave G. 2.18pm.

    “these people GIVE their money readily, as they take a calculated risk.”
    No Dave, gambling is addictive and as such can become fully blown destructive addiction just like heroin, alcohol or smoking. For an addiction to become fully blown – where all reasonable control, thought, calculation and volition flies out of the window – it needs to be introduced to the addict in the first place and then fed.

    Places like SkyCity introduce it purely for profit, and then they feed it, with more and more machines-had they been allowed by the law. Pokies have been called the “meth amphetamine” of the gambling world in today’s Herald.

    Now SkyCity, aided and abetted by John Key, Stephen Joyce and all who support this deal are about to give an extra large feed, via many more pokies and a law change,to further fuel the ghastly, destructive, rabid addiction of many more poor souls (and I do mean poor in both the economic and mentally vulnerable sense).

    Stilll tempted by a $350 million dollar convention centre and a few hundred possible jobs Dave G.et al ( or should I say other ‘blind’ als) at the expense of the lives of others?

    Friedman,Joseph, Thatcher, Reagan, Douglas etc.did their evil work well by mutating and corrupting many minds of a generation, a generation who now has no problem putting profit, lust and self service ahead of human lives. The new all pervasive morality of the moneyworshippers is productivity and competitiveness at all cost (so said PhilO’reilly on Close up tvnz,29..2.12). Harden your heart forget you are human, sell your souls -you won’t notice they are gone after a while.

  14. Dave G 14

    Colonial Viper…… Why is it a problem. Is smoking a problem created by the government. Are car crashes created by the government. No, not at all.

    So why is any gambling the problem of the government, no matter how many Pokies are in existence.

    Gambling has been around long before Pokies were a feature of pubs and clubs in NZ. I can recall the illegal bookies in pubs many years ago, and the TAB’s taking punters money of them, often they had to go home to their families to tell them there was no money for the week.

    Was that the Governments fault, should they have banned all breeding of Horses for racing to stop Gambling? No. No matter what you do some fool will be stripped of their money via some form of gambling – its about working with the gamblers not restricting any choice they and others have.

    As you see so concerned and genuine about problem gambling, you volunteer to help the problem gamblers ?? if yes, I salute you, well done. If not, your another hypocrite!!

    • Colonial Viper 14.1

      As you see so concerned and genuine about problem gambling, you volunteer to help the problem gamblers ?? if yes, I salute you, well done. If not, your another hypocrite!!

      Yeah I am concerned, very concerned.

      My bit to help in this is to make sure that National die in a ditch over SkyCity.

      Satisfied?

      Colonial Viper…… Why is it a problem. Is smoking a problem created by the government. Are car crashes created by the government. No, not at all.

      You’re sorta thick, right? You know, ignoring the role of Government in reducing access and desirability of things like smokes. Of ensuring the safety and maintenance of cars.

      Of limiting gambling activities.

  15. sdm 15

    Explain how a non problem gambler, who wasnt a problem when we had 25000 machines, suddenly goes and becomes a problem, because of these extra 500 machines

    • unpcnzcougar 15.1

      @sdm Thank you. That was my point. Let’s stick to the facts and the hard numbers rather than the shrilling which is making my ears hurt.

    • higherstandard 15.2

      Well if they were not at a site which already had a surfeit of pokies people may have a case that more gambling addiction may occur however the vast majority of wailing is politically motivated, which is understandable.

      • unpcnzcougar 15.2.1

        Yes, think it is a classic case of minority squeaky wheels. Build it, everyone will forget it about and the majority won’t have a problem with it, especially the businesses and tourism industry that benefit.

    • Uturn 15.3

      Uh, it’s called progression of time. Are there more people in NZ since then? Yes. Is gambling more popular? Yes. Is there a drive to promote gambling by Sky City? Yes. Do people’s life situations change? Yes.

      Lets start out easy. Explain how many P addicts there were before P turned up here. Now how many after a few P labs were busted. Now how many after a few more P labs opened.

      Explain how you won’t get sick in the future because you aren’t sick now, despite their being more, or less, diseases and more, or less, doctors to an earlier point.

      Explain how you won’t ever have a car accident because you haven’t in the past, despite car ownership fluctuating.

      Explain how it is that your brain thinks that because something didn’t happen to someone in the past, that it will never happen to anyone again, despite irrelevant indicators.

      • felix 15.3.1

        Right wingers who post here never seem to be able to factor time into their equations. Their faith in a static universe is laughably cute.

        In other news, the question of whether more people will develop spending problems is moot anyway. The only definite outcome which can be predicted with absolute certainty is that there will be more spending.

        Whether this is via more people developing problems or via people with existing problems spending more is irrelevant to this particular argument. We know for certain that the result will be more money sucked out of our communities and into pokie machines.

        How do we know this? Because if it weren’t true, SkyCity wouldn’t want them. Doh.

  16. seeker 16

    @higherstandard 4.27pm

    “vast majority of wailing is politically motivated, ”

    Wrong!!! It is morally motivated.

    Surely with the name you have given yourself you should be able to recognise this.

    • higherstandard 16.1

      If that were the case I would’ve expected far more of a debate about the banning of pokies and restricting the activities of the TAB and Lotto – unfortunately the debate has centred on the political ramifications and political prejudices as demonstrated by your earlier post.

      • McFlock 16.1.1

        You want a discussion on gambling? Go to a gambling blog site.
        You’re disappointed because people who comment on a political site discuss political ramifications of things.

        • higherstandard 16.1.1.1

          I was replying to seeker above making the point that the vast majority of faux moral concern is politically motivated.

  17. Uturn 17

    This is what it comes down to: no one can predict the future with accuracy.

    Some people tend to notice events creating trends, resulting in general outcomes.

    People who prefer to err on the side of caution, in most things, realise that money is nothing compared to the source of real wealth – actual resources. If the result of a decision is that five hundred people will die, but $50 million will be made, these people empathise with the loss, calculate and note the significance of social costs. If they can’t find an alternative, they decline the action and say we probably don’t need the money anyway.

    Other people use basic numbers to measure dynamic situations that cannot be measured with static rules. They don’t care if 500 people die if $50 million is produced and as long as they are not one of those who die. Because they confuse increase of money as an increase of wealth and general social health, they think that making money will solve all problems, thus anything that makes money is good and need not be questioned.

    In NZ, one group asks: What’s good for people in general and how can social costs be reduced? Another group asks: What’s good for me and how much money can be made?

    I hope you have enjoyed this brief outlilne of why things are the way they are.

  18. marsman 18

    Just saw a cartoon from the NZ Herald on Facebook.
    Key’s proposition to SkyCity:-
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/news-cartoons/news/article.cfm?c_id=500814&objectid=10799641

  19. xtasy 19

    When the Sky Tower was built and opened to the public, I could not believe what was going on in NZ. Yes, it was casino money paying for it, and now we have that same international corporation about to press the government to accept a deal to increase their pokie machines by about a third. John Key is warm for the idea, he even invited them to present their “offer” and conditions, looking at it very favourably.

    Change the law a bit, so Sky City gets about a third more in one armed bandit machines, the proved most addictive form of gambling, generating at least 40 per cent of revenue through problem gamblers, and this government wants to sign this off!

    Where do we live? This is unbelievable. I understand that casinos overseas face stricter controls and higher levies than in NZ. We expect other operators to contribute over 30 per cent of revenue to the community to address gambling and other problems. Yet Sky City already gets let off with a mere 2 or 2 and a half percent on profit.

    John Key is showing his true colours here. He is in with the big players in business, bad or not so bad. As long as there are “economic gains”, which means nothing but “profits” for the operators, it is considered healthy and justified.

    So Sky City wants to build and operate a convention centre that some feel NZ and Auckland needs. Fair enough, but what were the terms others (e.g. Infratil) offered, to give us as the public a fair view on this?

    Well, the government and Council may hav e to pay a bit towards other deals, but that may also mean saving millions in addressing social and health costs that will result from increased pokies at Sky City. Does anybody give that a thought? No, and it is the same with other issues. NZ is behind in thinking pro actively in many areas. OK plain packaged cigarettes may be a solution, but what about addressing gambling and alcoholism, drug addiction, poor dietary solutions and so forth also?

    It is ignored, due to lobby companies putting the pressures on. That is the bloody truth. Stop this damned rot and send a clear message to your MP, perhaps make submissions and protest, to stop this rotten government selling this country short. Throw J. Key out next election, that is the minimum to be expected now.

  20. Anthony Bull 20

    Do you guys realise that there are now 7,000 less pokie machines in the country than when Labour was running the country?

    It kind of makes you guys look like a bunch of hypocrites – or of rather small intelligence, that you are getting your knickers all worked up about this.

    As a related point – watch John Key completely take John Campbell to pieces over this – absolutely brilliant……

    http://ondemand.tv3.co.nz/Campbell-Live-Friday-April-20-2012/tabid/119/articleID/6262/MCat/73/Default.aspx

    • felix 20.1

      I think you’ve posted the wrong link, Mr Bull.

      • Anthony Bull 20.1.1

        That link shows Campbell being made to look like a hack – whats so wrong about it?

    • KJT 20.2

      What makes you think we all support Labour?

    • bad12 20.3

      I will refrain here from offering any critique of what i see as any of your personal short-comings, but, as you have in fact indicated that the reduction in the number of ‘pokie machines’ has only happened as a consequence of there being a National Government I can only suggest you take a long deep look at yourself in the mirror,(looking for any traces of a liar lurking within),

      The ‘sinking lid’ policy governing the number of ‘pokie machines’ was operating under the previous 9 years of Labour/NZFirst/Green Government, so we fail to see any hypocrisy inherent to the opposition to Slippery and Nationals current shady dealings with SkyCity,

      I would suggest that you re-view the Campbell Live interview with Slippery over His dealings with Skycity and take note of the points in the interview where the Prime Minister found Himself squeaking in a voice more fitting of a teenage girl in answer to a couple of Campbells more pointed queries,

      A forensic psychologist would tell you that such dramatic fluctuations in voice usually indicate either lying or someone under pressure attempting to inject an emotional plea of ‘believe me’ in answer to a given question where they know that their answer is of questionable veracity and a lot rides upon those seeing,viewing,or hearing the answer placing ‘trust’ in the person answering which is not based upon the actual facts of the answer as given,

      Sounds pretty Slippery to me…

      • McFlock 20.3.1

        The ‘sinking lid’ policy governing the number of ‘pokie machines’ was operating under the previous 9 years of Labour/NZFirst/Green Government

         
        What? Key claiming credit for initiatives introduced by labour?! I’m shocked, shocked I tells ya…
         
        Nah, not really. Par for the course from that slimey jerk.

      • ropata 20.3.2

        i wonder how much of this wondrous decline in pokies occurred as a result of destroyed pubs in Christchurch…

        • McFlock 20.3.2.1

          That would be a revealing stat – how quick the pokies were back as opposed to accommodation.

        • prism 20.3.2.2

          Good point ropata. It’s the sort of fortunate fact that would prove the old saying that ‘There’s a silver lining to every cloud’ that is manna to a politician.

    • Carol 20.4

      Erm…. it looks to me like Campbell puts it to Key….especially on Crafar farms. Dead, cold eyes their, Jonkey.

      So has the PM been to visit Betty Ford on one of his trips overseas? Otherwise, how the explain the startling verbal transformation?

    • xtasy 20.5

      Bull, that was agreed pliy for years, under the last and present government, to reduce over all gambling machines. Now suddenly, Mr Key and consorts want to have Sky City exempted from this, by allowing them a 30 or more per cent increase in pokies offered, while others have to cut down on them. Do you not get it, or are you such a brain washed Natiional Party supporter?

      Tonight I learn that even the supposed “anti gambling” John (hollow) Banks may support the deal. What a rotten state of affairs is NZ in?

    • Treetop 20.6

      Councils control the sinking lid policy on the reduction of pokie machines not the government.

  21. Roger 21

    Given the damage that problem gambling causes it’s not enough to say that there are less pokie machines now than there used to be. Also if supporters of the project believed in the laissez-faire approach then wouldn’t this be seen as a cost of business to be funded by the businesses that want to use the Convention Centre? Alternatively, if its not economic for businesses to fund, and its really a matter of national strategic importance, then it should compete with other government priorities for full public funding. There might be a case for PPP’s under certain circumstances to help build socially useful infrastructure. Whether pokies and a Convention Centre qualify is another question altogether.

  22. bad12 22

    Hell how can anyone discuss ‘pokie machines’ in terms of economics, such things are the anti-thesis of economy,

    Pokie machines simply remove capital from the economy while providing no productive basis for having done so,(unless of course anyone can consider a few flashing lights and a musical jingle as production)…

  23. prism 23

    Key says it is fiscally neutral. We taxpayers haven’t had to pay anything. Those addicted to chasing impossible dreams only live in the poorer part of town and in a sort of virtual apartheid so will not visit Sky City. Wrong on all counts.

    The taxpayers will pay for each gambling addict’s treatment. Their families suffer and pay as they are deprived of money needed to service the family’s needs and any unexpected windfalls will be sucked up till they come up empty. Gamblers will steal (embezzle) from their workplace, their clubs, their charitable connections or borrow from gullible family. Humans in general find it hard to say ‘enough’ to the promise of hopeful gains from gambling, and it is not just the low income people.

    Lastly embracing this type of gambling demonstrates the amoral attitude of free market business people and their fellow travellers. They will take from vulnerable people till they have nothing then disdain them when they have insufficient left to manage their lives.

    Pokies were introduced in 1991 – they had not been part of the mix before. The politicians who did so are money-machine-men who will take money from anyone, making a profit is a moral act to them, and the less restrictions on asset stripping either companies, their shareholders, the nation and its people, or the individuals who can be tapped is fair game. They are ‘smiling assassins’ except they tend to look grave and wise and act like reliable people with broad knowledge and high integrity. Whatever they say or do, look for their ulterior motives.

  24. ochocinco 24

    Even if the extra pokies caused zero harm, the issue would be this: Key sold NZ to corporate/capitalist interests. Which he should not do.

    • felix 24.1

      Too right. The pokies themselves are a side issue, a small dirty piece of a much bigger dirty puzzle.

  25. henry olongo 25

    Dave G your posts on this topic are absolute drivel. You are in denial- the reality is that addictive gambling on pokie machines is a new feature in our society. It requires eradication through regulation.

  26. lynette 26

    John key selling the law is just ridiculous. and in favour of machines that take jobs, unbelievable. Profits going goodness knows where. Whats the country comming to.
    Pokies are addictive hypnotic devices that rob people blind while giving them deception and adrendalin. they are programmed to take your money whilst you are in a hypnotic state. It isnt ‘gaming’ it isnt ‘entertainment’
    It is a real social issue. How the government has got it this far is beyond me. Please wake up democratic NZ and stand up.
    I wrote a book called ‘pokies, even when i win’ order it from a bookshop and read it. Its good and honest and took a lot for me to put it out there.Lynette Whale. published by Steele Roberts.

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    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Lavish penthouse spend confirms culture of extravagance
    At the same time thousands of New Zealanders are being locked out of the property market, the Government is spending up on a lavish New York penthouse for its diplomats, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer says. News that taxpayers… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Māori Television exodus cause for concern
    The shock departure of yet another leading journalist from the Native Affairs team raises further concern the Board and Chief Executive are dissatisfied with the team’s editorial content, says Labour’s Māori Development spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta. “Annabelle Lee is an experienced… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Million-plus car owners to pay too much ACC
    More than a million car owners will pay higher ACC motor vehicle registration than necessary from July, Labour’s ACC spokesperson Sue Moroney says. “During a select committee hearing this morning it was revealed that car owners would have been charged… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Bill will restore democracy to local councils
    A new Labour Member’s Bill will restore democracy to local authorities and stop amalgamations being forced on councils. Napier MP Stuart Nash’s Local Government Act 2002 (Greater Local Democracy) Bill will be debated by Parliament after being pulled from the… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Minister for Women again misses the mark – part one
    Yesterday I asked the Minister for Women about the government’s poor performance on it’s own target of appointing women to 45% of state board positions. I challenged why she’d put out a media release celebrating progress this year when the… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Banks enter Dragon’s Den in pitch for Government’s mental health experi...
    Overseas banks and their preferred providers were asked to pitch their ideas for bankrolling the Government’s social bonds scheme to a Dragon’s Den-style panel, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. Dragon’s Den was a reality television series where prospective ‘entrepreneurs’… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Global Mode bullying won’t stop people accessing content
    It’s disappointing that strong-arm tactics from powerful media companies have meant Global Mode will not get its day in court. Today a settlement was reached terminating the Global Mode service, developed in New Zealand by ByPass Network Services and used… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes MP
    2 weeks ago
  • More questions – why was the Former National Party President involved wit...
    Today in Parliament Murray  McCully said the reason Michelle Boag was involved in 2011 in the Saudi farm scandal was in her capacity as a member of the New Zealand Middle East Business Council. The problem with that answer is… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Minister must explain Maori TV interference
    Te Ururoa Flavell must explain why he told Maori TV staff all complaints about the CEO must come to him – months before he became the Minister responsible for the broadcaster, Labour’s Broadcasting Spokesperson Clare Curran says. “Sources have told… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • KiwiSaver takes a hammering after the end of kick-start
    National seems hell bent on destroying New Zealand’s saving culture given today’s news that there has been a drop in new enrolments for KiwiSaver, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson.  “New enrolments for the ANZ Investments KiwiSaver scheme have plunged… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Straight answers needed on CYF role
    The Government needs to explain the role that Child, Youth and Family plays in cases where there is evidence that family violence was flagged as a concern, Labour’s Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Arden says. “The fact that CYF is refusing to… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Prime Minister confuses his political interests with NZ’s interest
    The Prime Minister’s statement in Parliament yesterday that a Minister who paid a facilitation payment to unlock a free trade agreement would retain his confidence is an abhorrent development in the Saudi sheep scandal, Opposition leader Andrew Little says.  ...
    2 weeks ago
  • #raisethequota
    Last Saturday was World Refugee Day. I was privileged to spend most of my day with the amazing refugee communities in Auckland. Their stories have been inspiring and reflect the ‘can-do’ Kiwi spirit, even though they come from all different… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Dairy conversions causing more pollution than ever, report shows
    The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (PCE) released two reports on freshwater quality and management last Friday. The water quality report shows that dairy conversions are hurting water quality and says that despite great efforts with fencing and planting, large… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Employers want urgent action on health and safety
    Moves by National to water down health and safety reforms have been slammed by employers – the very group the Government claims is pushing for change, says Labour’s spokesperson for Labour Relations Iain Lees-Galloway. “The Employers and Manufacturers’ Association has… ...
    2 weeks ago

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