Thursday, 26 May 2011

asian gamblers

the front page of the waikato times today is dominated by one story: the plans by the sky city casino to stay open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. and how does the first paragraph of this story start? let me show you:

Hamilton's Sky City Casino will move to a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week operation in a move to attract high-spending Asian gamblers.

i don't know about you, but that seems to be a pretty nastily loaded statement. first, it's steeped in the assumption that asian and new zealander are two distinct & separate groups, and that a person couldn't be both at the same time. if they mean international tourists (which i suspect they do), then why don't they just say high-spending international gamblers?

then there's the question of why it would be more palatable for asians to be losing their money than any other race or demographic. to me they seem to be implying that it's ok for those asians to be losing their money because they are less than, i don't know, us kiwis.

it's clearly a statement made to divert attention from the fact that it is the poor and the problem gamblers who are going to be providing the bulk of their business in these extended opening hours. and it is whole families and communities who will end up paying the price. but to so blatantly use race to do is pathetic and of course, racist. here's a big fat raspberry in your direction, sky city.

39 comments:

The Java Monkey said...

Ummm, have you ever been in Sky City in the evenings? Its riddled with Asians.....and they drop a crapload of $$ on the tables.

Go there and observe for a while to look at the amounts some of the high roller Asians are gambling - it puts to shame the so called downtrodden you are talking about.

Stating the obvious is not racism, and is not a cover up. You are reading way too much in to it.....

Matt said...

@The Java Monkey

I have to say its similar in Melbourne Crown casino. Walking through there at times, I think I'm back living in East Asia.

Country Lane said...

Hmmm. Matt and Java - it's not possible those gamblers are in fact New Zealanders and Australians?

Boganette said...

Couldn't agree more Stargazer. The fact that the first two comments on this post are racist is just sad and proves your point. I hope there are protests in Hamilton. And I think the reporting in that article is revolting.

Brett Dale said...

Perhaps they are talking about tourists, if the Casino's customers demographic was asian and they recieved a lot of complaints by closing early, then the statement was right.

Take the rwc, there will be a lot of english tourists coming to this thing, so the pubs and bars will try and cater to their needs and what they are use to.

I have no idea about the casino industry, but I think they would try and cater for the needs of their cliental, its purly a money thing and not a racist thing.

In no way from that headline did i take it, that someone is trying to suggest that Asian people arent kiwis?

Boganette said...

Did you read the post Brett? It doesn't sound like you did.

For your benefit:

"Perhaps they are talking about tourists".

- Stargazer said: "if they mean international tourists (which i suspect they do), then why don't they just say high-spending international gamblers?"

"if the Casino's customers demographic was asian and they recieved a lot of complaints by closing early, then the statement was right."

- the intro was: "Hamilton's Sky City Casino will move to a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week operation in a move to attract high-spending Asian gamblers". Attract. Usually you don't "attract" something if it's already there Brett. Also, why are you assuming that the majority of gamblers at a Hamilton casino are "asian". What is that assumption based on?

"Take the rwc, there will be a lot of english tourists coming to this thing, so the pubs and bars will try and cater to their needs and what they are use to."
- Could you link to just ONE (honestly, just one) article where English tourists were called "English" with no other description? Either way the RWC will not be catering to only English tourists. They will be hoping to attract tourists from all over the world and they'll be adapting for TOURISTS.

"I have no idea about the casino industry" - I think I'll just leave that statement to stand by itself.

"but I think they would try and cater for the needs of their cliental, its purly a money thing and not a racist thing" - why do you think it can't be a money "thing" and a "race" thing? Why do you think the obvious, widely acknowledged damage gambling is to blame for suddenly doesn't impact certain communities?

"In no way from that headline did i take it, that someone is trying to suggest that Asian people arent kiwis?" - Considering that you have, in your reply, made massive (stereotypical) assumptions about an ethnic group while talking about something you clearly state you have "no idea" about I'd suggest you rethink that statement. I kind of don't think you're the arbiter of what is and isn't racist or what is and isn't Asian people being othered.

Hugh said...

- Stargazer said: "if they mean international tourists (which i suspect they do), then why don't they just say high-spending international gamblers?"

What if they were specifically trying to target high-spending international gamblers from East Asia?

Anonymous said...

Speaking as someone who's half-Thai I haven't felt a crushing desire to go to Sky City and gamble. Possibly the other half of me is stopping me from going in. May have to talk to a geneticist to see how these things work.

-Brian

stargazer said...

thanx for your comments boganette & country lane. i must say i expected a lot of this - it tends to be the typical reponse.

@hugh: are they really so stupid that they wouldn't want to attract ALL high-spending gamblers? i don't think so. and if they were going for a specific market, then they would be tailoring their marketing for that market. simply opening continuously is not targetting an east asian market.

their is only one possible reason for them to mention ethnicity in this way, and that is to divert criticism from the local community by othering another communtiy with the clear implication "it's not going to hurt YOU, we're only taking money off THEM".

and for those who see people of asian ethnicity in casinos, as country lane says, how is it that you know for certain that aren't locals? did you go & check everyone's passports? and how do you know for sure that they aren't connected to families who are suffering because of this person's gambling addiction? i suppose it doesn't matter if they're only asian.

Financier said...

My wife is a dealer at Sky City Auckland. 90% of (dealing) staff are Asian (as is she) and 95% of the players are.

Sky City's high roller business is aimed entirely at Asian high rollers. They deal with hosts based in Asian conutries whhose job it is to bring down gamblers to NZ. It is not focused on the Americas, UK or Europe (why would a high roller from the Americas come here when they could go to LV, Atlantic City or the Caribean?).

Brett Dale said...

In terms of International Tourists, Im sure they break it down to their demographic, American Tourists will have different needs from European Tourists,and Asian Tourists will also have different needs. A casino in New Zealand would attract more Tourists from Asian because Im guessing the high rollers from Europe and America wouldn't come to NZL.

Having been to the CHCH casino, a majority of the customers are Asian, and it would seem this is the case around the country.

In terms of the RWC the majority of tourists will be from England, in terms of the hype from the media that people coming from all over world are coming, most visitors from these countries will be Expats coming home for the cup.

You really dont think people from Spain, Qatar and the USA are getting excited about this thing?

I havent made any stereotypical, all I am saying is a business knows its clients and will try and carter to their needs, it doesnt matter if its the food/drink they serve, the manner in which the workers approach the clients, its what the clients what, and yes different clients has different needs. I don't think anything racist in it, nothing in being an arbiter or not, its just not racist to meet the needs of your clients.

Im pretty sure no one hear is saying or thinking , " Man ALL Asian people love to gamble and get raw fish, lets get their money" or thinking " All english love a pint and a curry"

The business is thinking specifically about the demographic of its clients, and what those particular needs are.

stargazer said...

missing the point again entirely brett, and wasting a lot of words to do so. there is nothing about "being open all night" that is a marketing ploy specifically for aisians. they not only know who their clientele are, they also know who their opposition are, and this is a tactic to hit at opposition using racism.

also, how is it that you magically manage to know what other people think? you must have some fantastic machine that can simultaneously look into everyone's head and let you know what everyone is or isn't thinking. can i have one of those too, please?

Brett Dale said...

I think its more than just opening up all night, it will have to do with how the casino interacts with its customers, the needs of its customers base, every little aspect of how its run, there is nothing racist in that.

As for the comment that how do i know what people are thinking, I find that to be extremely hypocritcal of some posters on this site.

katy said...

"their is only one possible reason for them to mention ethnicity in this way, and that is to divert criticism from the local community by othering another communtiy with the clear implication "it's not going to hurt YOU, we're only taking money off THEM"."

This.

Brett Dale said...

Katy:

I dont think its anything to do with that, its not to divert criticism that they are taking money away from other people and not you.

I dont think there is any sinister overtones here, its just a business trying to capture a demographic's business like every single business does.

stargazer said...

brett, please stop repeating the same comments which have already been responded to. we already know what your opinion is from your first comment, we don't need it on an endless loop.

financier, what you say may or may not be true. e have no way to confirm that or the percentages you give us. but that does nothing to refute the fact that "opening all night" is not marketing ploy that is specifically directed to an asian market.

Hugh said...

@hugh: are they really so stupid that they wouldn't want to attract ALL high-spending gamblers? i don't think so. and if they were going for a specific market, then they would be tailoring their marketing for that market. simply opening continuously is not targetting an east asian market.

I'm sure they want to attract anybody who will gamble there. But if they've noticed that tourists from East Asia seem especially keen, I think it's defensible for them to try and cater specifically to that market.

Why expanding their opening hours is specifically something East Asian tourists might enjoy, I don't know. But I wouldn't assume that they haven't. My insight into the average Asian-based casino patron's preferences is pretty minimal.

Financier said...

Another point to my earlier comment.

While obviously with longer opening hours locals will play (and on average lose) more, extending the opening hours is unlikely to be aimed at them.

Having worked for SKC professionally, been a shareholder and from what my wife has told me the profits from small investors while obviously not to be spurned are not what makes or breaks the casino.

The average size of the international high rollers is of such a magnitude higher that a casino's ability to attract these players is what will largelly drive profitability.

In New Zealand, like the casinos in Australia, Singapore and Macau the major source of inteernational high rollers are "asians" from particularly Thailand, China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Indonesia and HK. The casinos in these countries will offer anything including a change of operating conditions to attract these players from rival casinos, keep them happy and keep them playing (and by extension losing).

The casino has quite a problem: they have to make the high rollers lose but ensure that they still have such a good time that they will want to come back to the casino next time.

stargazer said...

sigh, hugh, i'll say it again: opening all night isn't "catering to that specific market".

financier, it really doesn't matter that the money doesn't come from the low-spending gambler (and they are definitely NOT "investors", especially when the majority of them will lose). the fact is the harm is done to those low-spending gamblers and their families, and potentially to families of high-spenders. that harm will increase if the casino is open all night. to ignore that by talking about high-sepnding asians is reprehensible.

Financier said...

My type, should of said "gambler" not "investor".

Thank you stargazer.

There are two distinct points to discuss here:
1. is the casino opening longer a good or a bad thing. You have addressed that and I have nothing to say on that.
2. was the article being rasist in referring to Asian gamblers. I will say no, it is an accurate encapsulation of the casino's business strategy to attract highroller Asian gamblers who want to play all night. So in that sense it is accurate.

I will retire from the field and allow you to debate point 1.

Scar said...

I just don't see why race had to be mentioned at all. Smacks of bad/sensationalist journalism to me.
This reminds me of an article the other day which mentioned that a person was an amputee, even though it had nothing to do with the context of the story.
Or the story that had to point out that a convicted criminal was transgender.
Just...why?

Stargazer has the right of it; mentioning things like race when there isn't any need for it is an effort to paint a minority group negatively.

Brett Dale said...

This is crazy, first off I dont see low income people coming into a casino at 3am to play the slots, where they could go online and do the same thing from home.

The casino wants to make money and they are targeting a specific demographic this is what its about.

BTW, any word on how many new jobs this will create by opening up a graveyard shift?

Boganette said...

I'm totally with Scar and Stargazer on this. It's ridiculous journalism and it's ridiculous to try and justify it but not surprising that Brett is attempting to do that.

Brett "crazy" is an ableist term. Also, when was the last time you gambled? Because you don't know when or what a gambler will and won't do. You can't play the pokies online. You're also assuming because of your privilege that everyone who goes to a casino to gamble has the internet at home and a credit card. It's a moral issue whether or not a casino should stay open 24-7. It's just completely shit journalism to pretend it's about "high-rollers" and stereotype people. And that's what is happening here.

Also, your question about job creation is pointless Brett. I could easily say: how many people on minimum wage are going to be forced to work all night because of this? How many families are going to be destroyed by this?

Hugh said...

sigh, hugh, i'll say it again: opening all night isn't "catering to that specific market".

Yes, I got the bit where you made the assertion. What I'm missing is the part where you provide something to support that assertion, particularly when the assertion is questioned by somebody with experience working with Sky City who seems to think it's not true.

Brett Dale said...

Boganette:

First I'm not sure what you are getting at with "Its not surprising that I'm trying to do that"

Im also not sure what ableist means?

Also why do you keep on going about this Privileged thing or labeling people this dude or that dude?

What Privileged do I have?? I have no Privilege form what I know of.

How the heck do you know what Im assuming???

You can play the pokies online thru various overseas sporting betting agencies although I have only done this a few time cause
I dont really gamble, but I know people who work at the industry and the highrollers that come in are mostly overseas business people and are Asian

I'm looking it from a purely business stance they are trying to attract the high rollers from Asia, what is wrong with that, if that is their business???

I 100% believe you are sometimes Hypocritical, you go on about stereotypes, yet you are guilty of that yourself.


I don't think casinos pay minimum wage, and Im pretty sure the workers will have a choice about what hours they work.

Im not sure how many families will be destroyed by this, but you could say that about any business??

Oh just out of interest, would you still go to a concert at a venue that pays their workers minimum wage and makes them work the graveyard shift?

Because believe me this is what happens around the country when a major act comes here, just ask anyone who works at Vector or CBS.

BTW, I dont like the gambling industry, but since its legal, they should be allowed to operate.

Boganette said...

I don't want to take over Stargazer's post I believe I've already done that to an extent - and you certainly have Brett. This is the last time I'll comment.

I'm not surprised by your comments because you ALWAYS comment in this way Brett. ALWAYS. You come to feminist blogs and expect to be educated about basic feminist or social principles. Even when you are given a run-down on a term or idea, you don't bother properly reading links provided. You've done it on my blog a heap of times, but you do it here constantly. There is a thing called Google. And if you type in something like 'Ableism' or 'privilege' it will tell you what these terms mean. It will even give you examples. YOU WILL LEARN SOMETHING.

You constantly pepper all your arguments with assumptions, anecdotes based on not much at all, observations from a biased point of view and guesses and stabs in the dark.

It's always "Well I don't really know but I think..." and "I don't think..." and then a statement you're trying to make people think is fact and "I'm pretty sure..." etc. You will get called on that. People will expect you to back up your opinions. If you can't handle that, then step back and read instead.

If you see comments of mine where I stereotype people or say something hypocritical call me out on it. I slip up. And if I get called out on something I step back, take it on board and try not to do it again. I am constantly learning. I try to do research myself instead of expecting people to drop everything and educate me. When someone says I'm talking shit and need to back the fuck up...I back up.

Why don't you try it?

Oh and, being a bogan I know a heap of people who work in the entertainment industry lighting and rigging concerts. Most of the gigs I go to are staffed by people who do it for free. For the love of it. That's the thing about arguments based on experience. You have yours. I have mine. But I am sure there are some people on low wages staffing concerts - which is why I take part in campaigns to increase minimum wage and why I only vote for parties that have a platform on minimum wage that increases it to a wage people can actually live on. My point was 'job creation' isn't some kind of magic word that erases criticism.

Great post Stargazer. I'm sorry for the derail.

Brett Dale said...

Boganette:

I dont come here to be educated, I coem here because I find some threads interesting.

I do read links when they are provided, that I can guarantee you, I may not understand the point they are trying to make though.

Yes I have heard of google and have read an reread the privileged thing, and still don't get it.

You say I pepper my posts with accusations, I say you also tend to do this.

I believe everybody has a bias point of view but like myself most will change their point of view if presented with compelling evidence.

Anyway that is all I have to say on the matter also.

Cheers.

katy said...

"asians from particularly Thailand, China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Indonesia and HK."

I thought we were talking about the gambling preferences of East Asians? Now I am confused.

Scar said...

Yes I have heard of google and have read an reread the privileged thing, and still don't get it.

If you cannot understand as simple a concept as privilege, then I'm uncertain as to why we should consider your arguments on subjects closely tied to privilege issues to be intelligent, informed or even remotely correct.

It's a bit like someone who can't grasp basic scientific theory trying to argue with a group of quantum physicists and thinking that their points are not only extremely salient, but also trump the theories of those who are well studied in that field.

Brett Dale said...

I don't know what privilege has to do with this thread anyway?

They are trying to attract high spending Asian tourists, I don't think they are trying for something more sinister at all.

ideologicallyimpure said...

What I'm missing is the part where you provide something to support that assertion,

Seriously, Hugh?

Protip: "A Hamilton casino is proactively hiring croupiers fluent in East Asian languages" is a marketing ploy targeting East Asians.

"A Hamilton casino is opening late at night" isn't a marketing ploy targeting East Asians and only East Asians because white people and non-EA brown people don't turn into pumpkins after the normal closing hours.

stargazer said...

sorry, i've been away from the internet so haven't been able to pick up on this. thanx people for your responses.

brett, you have been seriously trolling. it has been explained to you why your particular views are privileged. if you still don't get then that is your problem. i'm going to ask you to stop commenting on this thread as of now.

QoT, thanx for summing it up in a nutshell. i didn't think it was that difficult a concept, and the amount of tortuous explaining required to make this something other than what it plainly is? quite mindboggling.

Brett Dale said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
stargazer said...

brett, i've already asked you not to keep repeating the same comment, then i asked you to stop. you're merely repeating the same comment you've already made 4 times and also ignoring requests: that's trolling.

Anonymous said...

Out of curiosity.. does anybody know roughly how much of the takings in Hamilton are from non-resident high rollers? (I struggle to assume that it would be in the same proportions as in Auckland or Christchurch for example).

Hugh said...

No II, they don't turn into pumpkins, but brown and white people don't turn into pumpkins when they meet a croupier who speaks an Asian language, so your counterexample doesn't really work.

From what I've seen most casinos in Asia, or at least the big ones, are open 24/7. This is probably what most people from East Asia who gamble are used to, so it stands to reason it might appeal to them more. It seems reasonable for a casino based outside Asia that wants to appeal to East Asian customers to look at what their customers' local casinos do and try to emulate it.

ideologicallyimpure said...

I'm sorry, Hugh, you seem to be deliberately missing the point. No, white people aren't going to be put off by croupiers fluent in other languages, but the entire freaking discussion is about whether or not "opening late" is going to be more attractive as a marketing ploy to East Asians.

Things tend to be open longer in more populous/denser/"modern" cities (I speak as a former Auckland living in Wellington who still gets confused by the early closing hours of some businesses).

Saying that this ploy by the Hamilton casino is about attracting overseas tourists who are used to 24/7 operations would be fine and dandy; but to randomly mention East Asians, to buy into notions of "well they stay up all hours and have lots of money and don't socialise like We Normal White People and just spend hours in casinos (and isn't that just SO WEIRD)" is, um, kinda obviously racist.

Hugh said...

Well impure, it could be more attractive, and it could not be. But if it isn't, that doesn't actually mean that this isn't a marketing ploy aimed at East Asians; it might simply mean it was an ineffective marketing ploy.

I really doubt a casino is going to be trying to imply that wanting to gamble at a casino is weird, though. Your theory seems to be that the casino would suffer negative publicity if it simply said "We're opening 24/7 in order to attract more gamblers" and this is their attempt to weasel their way out of it. Maybe I'm projecting but I don't think the publicity would be that negative. Granted some people would take it that way, but some people are opposed to the existence of casinos in the first place, and I seriously doubt the casino is going to waste its time trying to appease them.

ideologicallyimpure said...

Okay, Hugh, well if you've decided it's not a big issue and are happy to ignore the many explanations already given (not to mention some wonderfully racist comments above which kinda prove the point) then I guess we're done because hey, you've spoken so I'd best stop trying to have autonomous thoughts.