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Skycity Queenstown Casino to Become Smokefree

8 December 2004

AUSTRALIA – (PRESS RELEASE) -- Skycity Queenstown Casino said today that it is prepared for the introduction of smoke free legislation on 10 December 2004 and that a smooth transition is expected as the days count down to the enactment of the new law.

Under the Smokefree Environments Amendment Act 2003, from 10 December 2004, no smoking is permitted inside any workplace. Smoking will be restricted to open-air venues. Existing outdoor balconies located around the complex will become the complex's designated smoking areas under the new law.

Skycity Queenstown Casino General Manager, Paul Wilson, said that smokefree legislation has been inevitable for some time and that the venue was designed with this eventuality in mind.

"Skycity Queenstown Casino opened in December 2000 with a number of outdoor balconies," he said.

"This week, we will simply continue to phase out our internal smoking areas. When we open at midday on Thursday 9 December, we will already be smokefree so that come midnight, our staff and customers will be accustomed to any changes," he said.

Mr Wilson adds that staff have been trained and will be instrumental in assisting customers to understand the new legislation and how it affects them.

"Quite simply, under the new legislation, staff and customers will still be able to smoke if they choose to – they will just be limited to the designated outdoor smoking areas."

Although there are obvious benefits with the new smoke free legislation (including a healthier working environment for staff, cleaning and ventilation cost reductions) Mr Wilson says that Skycity is aware that there is likely to be a downside for the business, but adds that it is likely to be short lived.

The Skycity Group has estimated an approximate $10 million impact across its operations this financial year as a direct result of the new smoke free legislation. However as evidenced by overseas experience, this is expected to abate within 12 months.

As well as the designated smoking balconies, other changes at Skycity Queenstown Casino from 10 December will include the removal of cigarette vending machines as the new law requires stricter rules around the sale and promotion of cigarettes. From 10 December, cigarettes will be sold at Skycity behind the counter at Wild Thyme Bar.

Skycity has also progressively installed signage throughout the complex to direct customers to the nearest smoking area.

For staff, Skycity Queenstown Casino will continue to offer external locations in which to smoke, located within the building precinct. For those keen to give up the habit, Skycity has promoted the national smoking Quitline, offering advice and support as well as heavily discounted vouchers for the purchase of nicotine gum and patches for its staff.

Mr Wilson says Skycity saw the introduction of smoke free as an opportunity to contribute to the welfare of its staff by getting alongside the nation's leading treatment provider and putting in place a cost effective process for those willing to give up their smoking habit.

"Staff simply phone up the Quitline with proof of their employee details to receive two months supply of nicotine replacement for just $15, which would normally cost around $200," he said.

At Skycity Hamilton, existing outdoor smoking balconies will also be utilised under the new legislation and at Skycity Auckland, eight new outdoor smoking balconies have been constructed to become the new designated smoking areas.

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