Jared Savage

Jared Savage is the New Zealand Herald's investigations editor.

Casino caught up in drugs op again

Photo / Getty Images
Photo / Getty Images

SkyCity Casino is again caught up in a major drugs enterprise.

Royce Duncan claimed his success as a gambler - not a methamphetamine manufacturer - was the reason he could afford so many expensive toys, such as a 15.2m (50ft) launch.

The ACC beneficiary spent hundreds of thousands of dollars at SkyCity, according to financial records obtained by police.

Duncan and his wife Alison were VIPs at the casino with "loyalty cards" and spent $882,000 over two years.

Sworn affidavits from police who analysed the financial records say Duncan never lost money at the casino - but most of his "winnings" were not jackpot wins but when he cashed his credit on the pokie machines.

Detective Nicholas Rolley said he believed this was how Duncan was laundering his drug profits.

Money can be put directly into pokie machines to build credit, but instead of gambling, the credit can be cancelled and cashed in.

Duncan disputed this and said he was a successful gambler because he had worked out the patterns of play.

But formal statements from senior SkyCity staff, Phillip O'Connell, show that it is mathematically impossible to consistently win on the pokies. The machines are programmed, by legal requirement, to return a minimum of 87 per cent of the amount wagered over a gaming cycle.

- NZ Herald

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