National | Gambling

Skycity gambling hidden agendas claims Māori health provider

A Māori health provider claims that Skycity Hamilton is trying to keep the public Hearing Panel in the dark, pushing for more pokies machines. Meanwhile, a livestream to the public would have helped address the impacts of gambling addiction among vulnerable Māori.

Hamilton based Te Kohao Health Managing Director Tureiti Moxon says, “Because it's kept under the dark and kept lowkey very few know about it.”

New Zealand Gambling Commission received Skycity's proposal to deploy 60 more pokies machines to the Hamilton casino as a substitute for three Blackjack round tables.

“Stop this! It is not good for our whānau, hapū and iwi.”

Hamilton Skycity General Manager Michelle Baillie wasn't available for comment. However, Skycity have filed for four applications with the Commission to enable the casino to have more gaming machines.

“It's a first time that's ever happened and they're trying to set a precedence that if they can do it in this casino, they will be able to do it everywhere.

The Ministry of Health told Te Ao Māori News, 16.7% of Māori used pokies machines in any venue whether it's pub/club or casino.

Te Kohao Health who currently have a contract on Gambling Problems says the second public Hearing Panel will include Māori witnesses who have a gambling addiction to highlight the impacts having more machines.

“What they're doing is creating more and more problems amongst us, amongst our families,” Moxon says.