A Green Party claim that SkyCity casino profits from the proceeds of crime has been slammed as "absolutely ridiculous" by the company's chief executive.
Nigel Morrison said the party's allegation over money laundering, made in a media statement yesterday, has "no substance", stating SkyCity has highly trained cashiers who oversee the exchange of money.
"It's absolutely ridiculous," he told TV ONE's Breakfast. "There's a money laundering legislation and we comply by that."
In its statement, the Green Party referred to the cases of Christian Clifton and Herminia Lanuza, who were both SkyCity VIPs and gambled millions of dollars of illegally obtained money.
Morrison said neither of those cases involved money laundering at SkyCity.
Party co-leader Metiria Turei alleged on Breakfast today that a proposal for more cashless gambling machines will only add to the crime, as well as increase problem gambling.
"They now want to expand their operations to include these cashless machines that are actually unlawful under the current law, which will only increase money laundering and more people stealing to feed their gambling habit," she said.
SkyCity has put in a proposal for more of the machines, saying it will remove the inconvenience of cash and allow it to compete with leading casinos in Australia and Asia.
Morrison said: "It's archaic and that's why it doesn't happen in any leading casino in the world." He said the machines eliminate having to carry around "buckets of coins", instead giving patrons a ticket which stores money.
'Big cheque at the Government'
Turei said the Department of Internal Affairs is concerned with the proposed machines because they "clean" the proceeds of crime.
"The reason why they are unlawful here is because they do increase the risk of money laundering and they make it harder for gamblers to know what they are doing," she said.
Turei said the casino wants to "buy" the gambling law so it can be changed to allow more machines to be installed. She said that in exchange SkyCity is offering to build a $350 million national convention centre.
"SkyCity is waving a big cheque at the Government and offering to spend all this money on a convention centre in exchange for changing the gambling law to make it easier for them to expand into those areas that are the most dangerous for problem gambling," she said.
Morrison said problem gambling is damaging to the casino and that "we are not in the interest of taking anyone's rent money".
"Most people who come into our property spend about $50, which is less than going to the movies for a family," he said.
Problem gambling has been highlighted recently after five children were allegedly found locked in a van in the Sky City carpark while their parents used gambling machines. The parents have been charged and will appear in court next month.