Sunday, August 19, 2007

Sky City Casino: Setting the record straight over Corruption Accusations

With Television New Zealand making accusations of "loan sharking" within Auckland's Sky City Casino complex, motivated by the deep left within the Green Party, for most of last week, it seems the truth, as reported by them maybe somewhat further from the truth.

Accusations were made that Sky City Staff were "skimming jackpots", "prize fixing" and heavily involved in loan sharking seem the views of a "journalists" over active imagination if the following response by Sky City to the accusations from TVNZ are anything to go by:

SKYCITY Sets the Record Straight
TV One news has made allegations this week regarding the integrity of SKYCITY’s operations and its staff with particular reference to alleged loan sharking at SKYCITY Auckland.
SKYCITY has continually provided comment and facts to TVNZ which they have chosen to ignore.
SKYCITY takes any allegations seriously and takes action immediately.
In accordance with these investigations, and advice of the DIA, a person was suspended from the SKYCITY property on Tuesday. This person was not a member of SKYCITY staff as stated by TVNZ. SKYCITY is unable to provide further information on this person due to privacy.
SKYCITY has no evidence of any improper dealings by our staff or in our VIP spaces which are continually monitored by security and surveillance.
SKYCITY is continuing its investigations and has zero tolerance for impropriety of any nature by staff. If TVNZ or any party has facts on which SKYCITY can act, then we encourage them to tell us directly.
SKYCITY wishes to inform all media of the information previously shared by SKYCITY Auckland’s General Manager, David Christian, with TVNZ:
SKYCITY has extensive polices and leading-edge technology in place to identify and manage undesirable behaviour. For example:
• Extensive surveillance systems are in place and are monitored at all times by highly trained personnel.• There are close working relationships with the DIA, who are on site, and with the NZ Police.• Information is regularly shared with relevant parties - DIA, NZ Police.• Suspicious activity is investigated by SKYCITY’s security and surveillance department and if appropriate reported to the relevant agency.• Suspicions of loan sharking are always investigated. This can lead to exclusion or trespass.• Training programmes are in place to support our staff in dealing with undesirable behaviour. Security personnel receive additional specialised training.• SKYCITY has a professionally skilled team of harm minimisation and host responsibility staff.• Gambling helplines are promoted throughout our casinos.• SKYCITY relies on information from our own investigators, staff, customers, the NZ Police, problem gambling service providers and the government inspectors operating on site. If TVNZ or its viewers have any information relating to undesirable behaviour, then we encourage them to speak to us or the DIA directly and we will take any appropriate action immediately."
SKYCITY reiterates that the casino industry in New Zealand is strictly regulated and supervised by DIA and the Gambling Commission.
SKYCITY respects its license to operate and values its reputation for being a responsible gambling provider - a strong commitment to the safety and security of our staff, visitors and customers underpins all of SKYCITY’s operations at all times.
(16 August 2007, Sky City corporate website)

It seems to this market watcher that hysteria has been whipped up by TVNZ just to fill some dead airtime. The TVNZ propaganda machine is an over the street neighbour to Sky City and there are rumours circulating that many staffers from the State Broadcaster have lost considerable sums having a flutter during long lunch breaks and boozy late night sessions after work. It must be remembered that it wasn't long ago that employees of TVNZ were caught out using TVNZ credits cards to rack up huge food and beverage bills at expensive eateries around the town.

Clearly there is a small story here but as is often the case a so-called journalist blows it out of proportion just to make a name. Dont let the facts get in the way of a good story huh?!

It seemed fit to re-print the Sky City reply as I have not seen a printed response to TVNZs muck raking.

These things should be cleared up before concentrating on the real, factual story, that is the Full Year 2007 profit announcement tomorrow 20 August(NZ time)

Until then.

c Share Investor 2007

Disclosure: I own Sky City Casino Shares

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