There is a fundamental difference between the rows and rows of casino pokie machines at SkyCity and the single machine down the local.
Pub pokies are required to return all profits and 37% of revenue to the community, by funding programmes like sports clubs and cancer research.
SkyCity’s machines, meanwhile, return only 0.8% of revenue and a pathetic 2.5% of profits. Talk about the House winning!
As John Key has attempted to squirm away from the scathing Deputy Auditor-General’s report into his trade-the-law convention centre deal, he’s taken to waffling about a “sinking lid” (or overall cap) on pokie numbers in wider Auckland. Now a sinking lid might potentially be a useful idea. But let’s be clear – it’s Council policy, not necessarily the country’s law.
The way Mr Key’s shonkey casino deal is shaping up, the big end of town’s lid will go up. Meanwhile the rent on the non-casino gaming sector will go down, and with it the Crown revenue.
That’s because the PM’s plan isn’t just for a convention palace. It’s about allowing hundreds more casino pokies which don’t distribute their revenue and profits to the community, and fewer pub pokies that do.
The Māori Party are probably opposed to the key polices of the pokie deal. John Banks will probably do anything John Key tells him to do.
So, ironically, the solution to this shambles (and revenue hole) seems to lie in the sole vote of Revenue Minister Peter Dunne.
The immediate question, then, is whether Dunne will pull the plug on the whole fetid casino convention centre deal. Or whether he won’t.
And the really key question is how many Kiwi kids will never learn to swim if the SkyCity deal goes ahead – and what will be the effect on the country’s deficit.
Having been slammed for its “unfair” casino deal, National’s spinmeisters are rewriting history. Again.
Let’s set the record straight.
In 2001 Judith Collins was chair of the Casino Control Authority. Her authority used powers delegated under the Casino Control Act 1990 to approve a $37 million expansion at SkyCity’s Auckland casino – with new gaming tables and pokies and all the social misery they cause.
So Labour abolished the Authority. We chucked the 1990 law out.
Labour bought in new legislation to control the growth of gambling, prevent and minimise the harm caused by gambling, ensure the money from gambling benefited the community, and ensure the system was fair with limited opportunities for dishonesty.
Today John Key’s National government are trying to do the exact opposite. They’re set to change the law to allow more pokies for the big casino in central Auckland.
There couldn’t be a more fundamental difference.
National’s proxies who are pushing the revisionist spin in the blogosphere are being played for suckers.