4 Apr 2014

Fall in betting a worry - broker

6:57 am on 4 April 2014

A decline in the spend on gambling per capita in New Zealand doesn't bode well for the country's biggest casino operator, SkyCity.

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According to data released by the Department of Internal Affairs, overall spending in the year to June 2013 was flat at $2.1 billion, the largest component of which is the spending on gaming machines at pubs and clubs, which fell more than 3.3 percent to $854 million in the period.

While the gambling spend at casinos showed modest growth, up 2.1 percent to $520 million,

TAB racing and sports betting was up 4 percent to $294 million.

Forsyth Barr says the average per-capita spend was $633 dollars, compared to a high of $705 in June 2004.

Research director Jeremy Simpson says pubs and clubs in Auckland and at other venues in Australia is where SkyCity may find its growth.

Sky offered good quality gaming machines in Auckland, but at present was constrained at peak times by parking shortages.

Its new convention centre in Auckland would help this, because it would be built with a lot of extra car parking.