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22 October 2015

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TVNZ ‘Mystery Shopper’ at Sky City Casino

TVNZ aired a news story last night that focused on harm minimisation measures at Sky City Casino Auckland. TVNZ used an actor to test systems at the casino on the night of Friday 9 – Saturday 10 October.

View the TVNZ news story

Read the story by TVNZ reporter

TVNZ approached the Department for comment and interviewed Maarten Quivooy, Regulatory Services General Manager, for the news report. He expressed disappointment about two aspects of the Sky City response: firstly, that the actor had not been spoken to during her long hours of play, and secondly, that the cashier had not taken the opportunity to provide the actor with information about problem gambling support options.  The Department will be following up with Sky City to understand why an approach didn’t occur on this occasion.

Mr Quivooy, however, acknowledges efforts Sky City has made to improve its harm minimisation measures since the Department’s Mystery Shopper exercise in 2014, and in particular notes that Sky City staff have recorded hundreds of gambler interventions a month.

Following our Mystery Shopper campaign last year, we continue to work with gambling operators to improve their performance in approaching and supporting people who may have problems with their gambling. This is ongoing and we are looking for improvements from all gambling operators. 

While the TVNZ story is a clear reminder to Sky City to strengthen its harm minimisation practices, it is possible that TVNZ, other media organisations, or the Department may run a similar exercise in the future focusing on either Casino or Class 4 gambling at other venues. This incident should serve as a strong reminder to all gambling operators to be focused on their systems and processes in order to provide safe gambling environments.