by Denise Roche
There was some bad news for hospitality workers and their ability to operate in a smokefree environment at SkyCity casino today. Two applications have been approved by the Gambling Commission allowing SkyCity to create new smoker-friendly areas.
SkyCity is currently being sued by the Cancer Society for its loose interpretation of what counts as an open area. SkyCity has a Diamond Lounge, where smokers can play pokies in a roofed area ventilated by louvre windows.
The Cancer Society, the Problem Gambling Foundation and the Salvation Army earlier this year filed for a review of the Ministry of Health guidelines that allow SkyCity to operate a smoking area. They pointed out that the Diamond Lounge, is actually in an enclosed part of SkyCity.
The groups say when they complained to the Auckland Regional Public Health Service, it carried out tests and ruled that the lounge was an open area.
SkyCity for their part want people to combine their addictions. They want gamblers to stay as long as possible at their machines and spending money without having to consider the consequences.
The fact that workers will be breathing in second hand smoke and that they are pushing the boundaries of the Smokefree Act is of little consequence. It is typical of the way SkyCity operates that while under attack from the Cancer Society and groups concerned with gambling over New Zealand’s smoking laws that they push ahead with expanding smoking areas.