28 May 2018

Far North hotel scraps pokies after baby abandoned

9:56 am on 28 May 2018

A hotel in the Far North is packing away its pokie machines after a woman left her baby outside while she played the machines.

Pokie machines.

Photo: RNZ

The Rawene Masonic Hotel let punters know on its Facebook page that they would no longer be providing the gaming machines after the incident, and hoped their community would be supportive of its decision.

Rawene Masonic Hotel owner Glen Dick told Morning Report a young woman came into the hotel two weeks ago, got $20 cash out and started to play on the machines.

Within two minutes he could hear a baby crying.

"There on the footpath outside is a young baby in a baby capsule," he said.

Mr Dick picked up the capsule and asked the woman playing the machine if it was hers.

She admitted it was but that she didn't have her car to leave the baby in. He asked the woman to leave.

He said pokies machines are horrible and when he first took over the business, he wasn't keen on keeping them. Thinking it may be revenue for the hotel, he kept the seven machines.

"We weren't happy about our decision [to keep the machines] and this confirmed for us that we did need to get rid of them."

Now the machines have been removed and Mr Dick said in doing so, he has lost $1000 per week in revenue.

"This a very small percentage of what gets put through them."

However, he said: "Our morals before taking over the business was to look after our community and look after our locals, we feel our decision to remove these machines is the right one and we are looking after our people."

Mr Dick said the punters who used to frequently visit his hotel will most likely now head to other venues in the region that have pokie machines.