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SkyCity Casino rejects Greens' claims

There are fears of money-laundering if gamblers can cash in tickets at unmanned kiosks. Photo / Thinkstock
There are fears of money-laundering if gamblers can cash in tickets at unmanned kiosks. Photo / Thinkstock

SkyCity is rubbishing allegations made against the casino by the Green Party today.

The Greens said concessions SkyCity is seeking in a deal with the Government for a new convention centre are likely to lead to more money laundering at the casino.

The Government is in negotiations with the casino to build a 3500-seat centre in Auckland in exchange for allowing up to 350 new pokie machines.

The Greens' statement followed an Internal Affairs document released to the Herald under the Official Information Act, which raised questions about the casino's Ticket In Ticket Out machines, which print bar-coded tickets rather than money when a gambler "cashes out'', and were approved before the Gambling Act came into force in 2003.

In its "interim position paper'', the department said it was unlikely the machines would be permitted under the new law because cashless systems were likely to worsen problem gambling behaviour.

The kiosks have also been identified as a risk of money-laundering for organised crime groups.

Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei responded by saying the Government should can its deal with SkyCity and look at ways to stop casinos benefiting from the proceeds of crime.

"The concessions SkyCity are seeking in return for building the conference centre, like more Ticket In Ticket Out machines, are likely to lead to more money laundering at the casino,'' she said.

"Rather than change the law to allow SkyCity more opportunities to cause harm, the Government should investigate ways to ensure the casino pays back money stolen from hard working New Zealanders.''

Mrs Turei said changes to the law could include amendments to the Criminal Proceeds Act or a ban on Ticket In Ticket Out machines.

SkyCity Chief Executive Nigel Morrison said tonight that the Greens' statement had "no substance to it at all.

"Any illegal activity by customers is bad for SkyCity's business and we work closely in a collaborative relationship with the police and other authorities to ensure it is dealt with immediately and appropriately.''

He said SkyCity is proactive in its approach on illegal matters, alerting the police or other relevant body if and when they occur.

- APNZ

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