Australian and New Zealand casino operator SkyCity Entertainment Group is demonstrating its commitment to responsible gambling by inviting public health providers onto the floor of its flagship Auckland venue.
This week marks Gambling Harm Awareness Week (GHAW) in New Zealand and this year’s event marks the first time the country’s largest casino operator SkyCity was invited to participate, a chance the company jumped at, according to general manager of support services Callum Mallet.
SkyCity’s invitation came from Hāpai Te Hauora, the Maori Public Health authority. A total of seven different providers of problem gambling support will be at SkyCity Auckland for four to nine hours per day to provide information and take bookings from any SkyCity customer who feels their gambling behavior is growing out of control.
SkyCity already offers a variety of self-exclusion options, ranging from three months to two years, that can apply to an individual casino or on a group-wide basis. Extended family members can also request exclusion if they feel a loved one’s gambling has passed the point of mere entertainment.
SkyCity’s Mallet (pictured right, alongside Hāpai Te Hauora’s David Frost) said the company understood that “for a very small percentage of people, gambling can cause harm,” and thus SkyCity was “continuously looking at ways we can improve” problem gambling mitigation efforts. “It’s most important to us that we are providing a safe and fun place for our customers to game.”
The theme for this year’s GHAW is “take time out from gambling, put time into whānau [family].” Hāpai Te Hauora maintains that Māori, Pacific and Asian communities are overrepresented in problem gambling statistics, and thus “targeted and culturally appropriate pathways” are required to enable a greater connection between the problem gambling message and its intended audience.
Hāpai Te Hauora celebrated SkyCity’s involvement in this year’s event, calling it “a foot in the door” that will allow problem gambling authorities a better shot at reaching gamblers who may not be aware of the help that’s available to them.