Sky City’s $2.5 million Hamilton Casino profit increase in the year just completed has given rise to a call from a gambling issues lobby group for the community to “get a significant share of the windfall.”
GamblingWatch co-ordinator Dave Macpherson said the 7% local profit increase “ought to generate considerable extra support for local community and sporting groups who are really feeling the pinch of the economic recession – but knowing Sky City, it probably won’t help them beyond the cost of a new car if they’re lucky!”
“A reasonable person might think that Sky City could afford to give half is extra gambling profits back to the community from which the money had been earned,” he said.
“Think what the Waikato region could do with an extra $1.25M in the next year – maybe doubling the food supplied through every foodbank in the region, or keeping the costs of gym and field hire at the 2008 levels for all kids sports teams, so more youngsters could afford to play sport, meeting the Government’s plans to increase sporting participation among the young?”
Mr Macpherson pointed out that Sky City’s licence only required it to give a “miniscule proportion” of its $38.9M Hamilton profit back to the community – somewhere between two and three hundred thousand dollars per year.
“This amount is less than the grants going to the community from one single pokie bar in the same city.”
“We would like to think that Sky City would see it had a responsibility to significantly support the community when it was doing well – but we are not holding our breath!”
“However, in the interests of giving everyone the benefit of the doubt, I challenge Sky City management to focus on giving, rather than profiting, during this economic recession.”
Mr Macpherson said the same calls applied to all other Sky City-controlled casinos around New Zealand – In Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin and Queenstown.
“Their 13% group profit increase to $115.3 million gives Sky City a perfect chance to show what a good corporate citizen they are in several parts of the country.”