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Current as of 26/12/14 07:40PM NZST

David Fisher

David Fisher is a senior reporter for the NZ Herald.

SkyCity's welcome mat for smokers

Casino extension with two smoking zones approved by Gambling Commission

People who like to smoke and gamble will be able to use an expanded area at SkyCity's Auckland casino. File picture / NZ Herald
People who like to smoke and gamble will be able to use an expanded area at SkyCity's Auckland casino. File picture / NZ Herald

SkyCity is targeting smokers with an expanded casino area designed for customers who want to have a cigarette while gambling.

Two linked applications have been approved by the Gambling Commission allowing the Auckland casino to make changes to create new smoker-friendly areas.

It follows comments by chief executive Nigel Morrison in February in which he said smoking laws in Australia were more attractive to gamblers from China and Malaysia.

"If we could allow them to smoke, we could generate a lot more income."

The application said there was demand to combine smoking and gambling - as shown by customer interest in its Diamond Room, where smokers can play pokies in a roofed area ventilated by louvre windows.

The casino did not comment further on the applications.

In documents before the commission, the Problem Gambling Foundation linked to the changes to the convention centre deal.

"This could be in preparation for a significant expansion of gambling as a result of negotiations with Government on the proposed convention centre."

The foundation said there were strong links between smoking and gambling, with many problem gamblers having smoking habits.

The casino company application proposed extending the gambling area to include the Jade Dragon restaurant on level one and the mezzanine area on level six. Part of the extension would be to create two smoking zones.

The extension was granted but the casino must seek additional permission before moving gambling products into the extended area.

The casino and hospitality company was named in a lawsuit brought by the Cancer Society which challenges the Ministry of Health's "open areas" calculator.

The society targeted the casino's Diamond Room as an example of the flaws in the ministry's calculator used by bars and restaurants countrywide to designate areas where customers can smoke.

- NZ Herald

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