Gamblers to pick up tab for loss-making Auckland centre

Australasia News
Gamblers to pick up tab for loss-making Auckland centre

A loss-making convention centre will be paid for by gambling concessions.

The 32,000 square metre centre international convention centre in Auckland, New Zealand, is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2019, and opened later in the year.

The plan includes a five-star 300-room hotel, a retail laneway and 1,327 carparks.

The project will create an estimated 1,000 jobs during the build, plus about 1,140 jobs once the convention centre and hotel opened for business.

The agreement for building the SkyCity convention centre in Auckland, New Zealand, involves measures to prevent problem gambling, such as having more staff on the casino floor.

Chairman Chris Moller said ground will be broken on the development before the end of the year.

Moller said the board was “under no illusion” that the centre itself would generate any significant profit.

Instead, the return on the NZ$450m (US$290m) investment will come from gambling concessions granted by the government, including extension of the Auckland casino licence until 2048.

The centre’s chief executive Nigel Morrison said the centre would be “marginal” as a standalone business.

He said: “We would hope to make a profit out of it, we would hope to do a good job and have some great events out of it – and we might.”

But Problem Gambling Foundation spokeswoman Andree Froude told reporters there was a conflict between SkyCity’s need to maximise returns to shareholders, and to minimise problem gambling.

She said it was a concern that the company’s host responsibility efforts were not independently audited.

Conference & Meetings World is published for the international conference and meetings industry. It tackles the issues facing organisers of international events. The editorial is independent, fresh and news driven, with a global reach.

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