New Zealand’s SkyCity Entertainment Group is facing a temporary casino operator’s license suspension after the country’s Secretary of the Department of Internal Affairs lodged the respective application to the Gambling Commission for the operator’s alleged problem gambling violations. As reported, the regulator is considering the measure following a February 2022 complaint from a former customer that the casino allegedly facilitated a continuous play beyond hours suggested by Problem Gaming Foundation for harm reduction purposes.

Continuous Play Rule

As reported by 1News, this Foundation argues that even the five hours of continuous play suggested by the current Foundation’s program for poker machines should be reviewed as even people continuously playing pokies for three hours are four times more likely to become problem gamblers than those that spend less time gambling.

Alleged Continuous Play Violation

Following the customer’s complaint about the alleged violation, the Secretary of the Department of Internal Affairs reportedly referred to the Gambling Commission of New Zealand with the claims that the SkyCity Casino Management Limited (SCML) casino operator allegedly failed to comply with its SkyCity Auckland Host Responsibility Program governing the continuous play detection.

Max 10-Day Suspension Expected

According to IAG, SkyCity commented:The Commission will now consider whether to make an order to suspend SCML’s casino operator’s licence and, if so, the duration of any such suspension. A decision may not be forthcoming for a number of months.” As reported, any such suspension would refer to a period of max 10 days and would not affect the operations of the company’s subsidiaries in Adelaide, Australia or any of its non-gaming operations, including hotels and restaurants.

The Gambling Commission will reportedly review the application delivered by the Secretary and may summon all the involved parties for a hearing before making the final decision on the issue. The company is reportedly ready to follow the regulator’s requirements.

Company Collaborates in Process

“SkyCity will fully cooperate with the Secretary in relation to the application and process. Given that the application is before the Commission it would be inappropriate for SkyCity to comment further on the application and allegations at this stage,” SkyCity reportedly said and added:

“SkyCity is committed to maintaining the highest standards of host responsibility best practice, with priority given to minimising the impacts associated with problem gambling as an area of primary focus. SkyCity has made, and continues to make, significant investment and enhancements in its host responsibility controls, technology and resources.”

$260 Million Lost to Allegations:

According to analysts, the financial impact of the expected 10-day suspension will not be significant. As 1News reports, Forsyth Barr head of research Andy Bowley expects that the casino operator license suspension may incur a loss of only a few percent of the company’s profit. But the same source also reports that the case has dragged the SkyCity’s market value down by $260 million already on 4 September 2023.