Formula 1 champ Lewis Hamilton blasts Sky City casino
A misunderstanding of New Zealand's casino rules may have led to Lewis Hamilton's scathing Sky City review.
The Formula 1 star, who touched down in Auckland on Monday, blasted the Auckland casino for poor service.
The 31-year-old Briton posted a damning review to his 3.2 million Twitter followers: "Don't ever go to the sky city casino in Auckland, they treated me like dirt. Can't believe how rude they were. Worst casino experience ever!"
It was not clear exactly what happened at the casino and the tweet was deleted soon after.
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Social media users have since speculated over what caused the outburst, with some guessing Hamilton was annoyed at not receiving special treatment.
It appears a minor misunderstanding at the casino was blown out of proportion.
Sky City has since apologised to Hamilton, asking him if there is anything they can do to make it up to him.
"Sky City is very sorry to hear Lewis Hamilton didn't enjoy himself at our casino last night - we pride ourselves on providing an excellent level of service to all our customers," Sky City spokeswoman Kelly Armitage said.
"We are following up with Mr Hamilton to get further details of his experience."
So sorry to hear @lewishamilton didn't have a good time with us last night.We pride ourselves on being good hosts-we're following up w him— SKYCITY Auckland (@SKYCITYAkl) March 14, 2016
It is understood casino staff stuck to usual customer service protocol during Hamilton's visit.
However, it was possible Hamilton - who was known for his caps, sunnies and selfies - was not aware of New Zealand gambling laws and Sky City rules.
Sky City rules banned cell phones being used at the table, which included taking selfies.
Sunglasses and hats are also prohibited.
Sky City staff are obliged to say something to customers who breach the rules.
Despite the brief online storm, Hamilton had chosen to remain as a guest at Sky City during his time in Auckland.
HAMILTON'S AUCKLAND EXPERIENCE
It is understood the F1 champ rented a nice car to drive around Auckland for a bit of sightseeing on Monday.
He also ate at Gusto - one of the restaurants in the Sky City complex - on Monday night.
The motor racing ace turned up unannounced at Sean Connolly's Italian eatery for dinner.
Shortly before midday on Tuesday Hamilton emerged from the Sky City Grand Hotel's front entrance wearing a cap and sunglasses and got into the back seat of black Toyota Prius along with another man.
The car drove off down Federal St with a Volkswagen convertible in tow, which was occupied by a man with a video rig.
Lewis Hamilton just tweeted that Sky City casino in Auckland treated him like dirt but he's quickly deleted it.— Karen Hurley (@karenhurley) March 14, 2016
Lewis Hamilton just blasted Aklnd Sky City Casino 😳 this is a PR disaster for them & someone is getting fired tomorrow 😂— Wilz (@Wilz_xmen) March 14, 2016
@LewisHamilton what happened at SkyCity to make you so mad? Welcome to Auckland! It's a great city, especially outside of the casino.— Daniel Rutledge (@DanielRutledge) March 14, 2016
Mercedes spokesman Matt Bruce said the star didn't have any official Mercedes engagements while in New Zealand.
Hamilton did not have a Mercedes car on loan for his Auckland visit.
This was likely to be a fleeting, personal visit for the champ, who doesn't get much downtime because of his hectic schedule.
Hamilton had F1 commitments in Australia on Thursday and possibly Wednesday, so it was likely he would leave the country Tuesday night or Wednesday morning, Bruce said.
The reigning Formula 1 champion has stopped off in New Zealand ahead of this week's opening race of the season in Melbourne.
Since his arrival down under, Hamilton has been posting pictures of Auckland and New Zealand on social media, including Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.
His Snapchats included his plane landing in the city, walking through Auckland Airport, the Sky Tower and his view of the sunset.
"So, we made it. New Zealand! First time ever to New Zealand so I'm excited to see this beautiful place," Hamilton said.
The three-time F1 champion won his first title with McLaren in 2008 before winning back-to-back championships with Mercedes in 2014-15.
Last year, he signed a new three-year deal with Mercedes worth a reported £100 million (NZ$214m), making him Britain's best-paid sportsman in the process.