We’ve made a point of emphasising over the last year that we’re not in the gambling business. However we are doing everything we can to ensure that gambling at our venues in West Auckland, is not problem gambling.
Gambling is a dilemma for everybody. It’s legal, it’s popular, most people aren’t problem gamblers, and people say that if they want to gamble, that is their business. On top of that, West Auckland has benefitted hugely from the millions of dollars that are returned to hundreds of very worthy causes, from children’s sport and cultural activities through to major public assets like The Trusts Arena.
While the public really enjoy those benefits, a large number of our residents have deep concerns about gambling.
“We hear and we respect that at a very personal level because we are part of this community and we have made a commitment to being good citizens”. says Richard Griggs, Hospitality Operations manager and the executive directly responsible for harm minimisation measures.
“In keeping with our accountability to the public, we are doing everything (we can, and more than is required by the Gambling Act, and much more than many other organisations) to identify, deter, and minimise problem behaviour. It’s another way in which we’re ‘Giving Back’,” Richard says.
Among the measures in our Harm Minimisation manual are:
All staff who work in gaming areas, are trained in problem gambling awareness and harm minimisation. Only staff who have completed this training, may be involved with gaming functions. These programmes are backed up with appropriate resources.
Staff make a physical inspection of the gaming rooms every 15 minutes to check possible excessive gambling. We are trialling “proximity readers” to give independent verification that checks are done. Every room also has CCTV surveillance.
We have no intention of making it easy for anyone to gamble a lot of money at one “sitting”. We don’t have ATMs and Eftpos cash-out is limited to $100 per time. If we don’t know patrons, they can only get cash out twice in one night. We don’t provide less than $10. We generally limit changing large denomination notes for coins to two transactions per customer. But we pay out jackpots in large denomination notes to discourage patrons from putting winnings straight back into the machines.
We can exclude (ban) people with possible at-risk behaviour or they can ask to be excluded. This can be done in conjunction with the Salvation Army Oasis (addictions) programme. We will capture each excluded person’s photo and details in the point-of-sale system and share it with all our venues. Thus, if an excluded person enters any of our venues, they can be identified and be asked to leave. If they refuse, we can call the police. Strict confidentiality operates in relation to our exclusion system, and only authorised people can access confidential information.
We regularly work with The Department of Internal Affairs, Oasis, TTCF and the community and, at times the Problem Gambling Foundation. Defeating problem gambling is a work in progress but our systems reflect our very serious intention to ensure that gambling in our West Auckland venues, is a problem-free pastime in venues managed responsibly by The Trusts and enjoyed responsibly by our patrons.
Thanks for reading.
Chief Executive at The Trusts