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SkyCity deal finalised

Photo / Dean Purcell
Photo / Dean Purcell

The Government and SkyCity have signed off on their controversial deal under which the casino company will build a $402 million international convention centre in downtown Auckland in return for gambling law concessions.

The Herald understands the deal was inked shortly before 8pm, just three hours short of the 11pm deadline set at the start of the week after the two parties failed to meet two previous deadlines.

It is understood the deal is in line with the preliminary "heads of agreement'' struck in May.

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce is to give further details tomorrow morning.

Under the deal SkyCity will be allowed 230 pokie machines in addition to the 1648 it already has.

It also gets extra automated table games and, crucially, a 35-year extension to its licence. It has agreed to additional gambling harm reduction measures.

All up, the concessions are worth up to $527 million over the lifetime of the deal, according to analysts' estimates.

The Government says the 3500-seat convention centre is worth about $90 million a year to the Auckland economy but gambling opponents say it will result in as much as $6.6 million a year in problem gambling related costs.

- NZ Herald

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