Friday, May 07, 2010

New Zealand News: Deserted Boy Found At Land Based NZ Casino

Police were called to New Zealand's SkyCity casino last week after a minor was found abandoned while his grandparents played bingo.

The kid was waiting outside the main gaming room at the casino.

The Problem Gambling Foundation said the incident provided "very, very sad" evidence of the industry's impact on families.

Police communications inspector Matt Sillars confirmed police attended but had not made any immediate arrests.

SkyCity security management initially denied a neglected child had been located.

SkyCity general counsel Peter Tracey later did confirm security found a 10-year-old boy at approximately 10.30am. Mr Tracey said the grandparents were playing bingo on the main gaming floor.

He said occasionally people left their children unattended while gambling but they got the message that such behaviour was unacceptable.

When quizzed why security staff denied any knowledge of the incident in question, Mr Tracey said "they were probably instructed to not talk to media".

Security footage showed the child was alone for six minutes, Mr Tracey said.

Guards found the grandparents and trespassed (totally banned) them from the casino for two years.

"We have absolutely no tolerance for people leaving children unattended," he tells.

A man who said he witnessed the incident said security was lacking.

"Security there didn't care. There was no sense of urgency at all," he said.

"It's not like someone was with the kid the whole way through."

Mr Tracey denied the allegation, saying a member of staff was in fact with the boy the whole time after he was found.

He said parents who desired to gamble at the casino should arrange for their children to be cared off-premises and the casino did not intend to offer childcare facilities.

"A creche is completely out of the question," he said. "It would have the opposite effect."

Problem Gambling Foundation chief executive Graeme Ramsey said: "This is just the latest in a long line of incidents over the years where people neglect children because of gambling. "It absolutely points out where a lot of the misery of gambling is felt."

More points of difference between the land based casino sector and online gambling.

Media Man and Gambling911 encourage gamblers to bet responsibly, don't let it become a problem for self and loved ones, and to have fun.

*Greg Tingle is a special contributor for Gambling911

*Media Man http://www.mediamanint.com is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company. Gaming is one of a dozen of verticals covered