Community & Environment

Councillors vote to challenge SkyCity’s application to add further 60 pokie machines

An aerial view of the central city and Waikato River

Hamilton City Councillors have voted overwhelmingly in favour of supporting a submission process to refute SkyCity’s casino licence application to add a further 60 pokie machines to their riverside premises.

Councillors voted 8 to 1 this afternoon to engage Hamilton lawyers Tompkins Wake, Queen’s Counsel representation, and expert witnesses to manage and deliver a submission on behalf of Hamilton City Council.

The rebuttal and submission to the Gambling Commission will be funded to the value of $150,000 by Council and will come out of the existing budget in the Mayor’s office.

The Council also voted in favour of Chief Executive Richard Briggs approaching other interested parties to partially contribute to funding the submission by up to 50%, however the submission will go ahead regardless of external funding being sourced.

Hamilton Mayor Andrew King says he is completely against the addition of any addictive gaming machines to the casino and says the Council has an obligation to act when it sees the potential for harm.

“It would be completely irresponsible for this Council to allow SkyCity an additional 60 slot machines – this would take their total up to 399 machines

“It is well known how addictive these pokies are and we have a responsibility to take care of the vulnerable parts of our community. Hamiltonians don’t win here. The only winner is SkyCity and their bottom line”.

Three Councillors left the meeting after declaring a conflict of interest in the submission. They were Crs Taylor, Bunting and Henry. Cr Mallett dissented.

Cr Southgate was not present at the meeting and had sent apologies.

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