Prime Minister John Keys wants New Zealand gambling laws changed to include a casino in a proposed international convention center in Auckland.
New Zealand’s Prime Minister, John Keys, stated during the past week that the country is in need of an international convention center which must include a casino.
At the press conference, the PM explained that the country must remain competitive and the convention center will create 1000 jobs during the two year construction period as well as 800 permanent positions and provide a $350 million economic boost.
The proposal immediately came under fire from the Labor political party which decried the necessary changes to New Zealand gambling laws the new 3500-seat casino/convention center in Auckland would require.
SkyCity, which operates New Zealand poker rooms and casinos, will require additional licenses for new casino table games and pokies (slot machines) to be located at the proposed convention center complex. In the tightly regulated market, the total number of licenses is capped and requires legislative changes for any additional licenses to be issued.
According to online gambling news in New Zealand, During the post-Cabinet press conference, PM Key attempted to pacify the anti-gambling forces by pointing out that the country must be flexible and many laws get frequently changed in order to stimulating economic activity.
“In the case of the Auckland casino and the new national convention canter, this is a site-specific issue. This project is important for New Zealand. The legislation covers that particular license and it would have had to be renegotiated in 2021 anyway in terms of the scale of that activity.”
Opposition political parties have condemned the gambling expansion plan, that ‘the social harm of increased gambling outweighs economic benefits. Gambling destroys families.’ The Problem Gambling Foundation supported the idea of a convention canter but is extremely worried about the consequences that poker machines and gambling tables at the proposed casino would have on the public.
The Prime Minister dismissed the bleating of the liberals as nonsense.
“We’ve had nine years of a Labor government which has been tying people up in red tape and stopping this country progressing. We are a government that wants to make progress in terms of economic development,” he said.