Home and Away star Emily Weir has revealed that Mackenzie Booth is dicing with real danger over her illegal gambling venture.
The Salt owner has been struggling with debt after a failed insurance claim following the toxic gas leak in the restaurant at Christmas.
When Felicity Newman (Jacqui Purvis) first suggested running illegal poker nights at Salt, Mackenzie was dismissive.
“She laughed! She thought it was hilarious and it was kind of a joke, then she realised that Felicity was serious,” commented Home and Away star Emily.
“As time progressed and her financial stresses became more impactful, she leaned more into the idea of it and Felicity was very convincing.
“She has a lot of shame around the debt itself, as it’s part of her identity being a businesswoman.
“When she's thrust into part of her identity being taken away she puts on a poker face herself to make others believe that it’s all okay.”
With the nights up and running and the cash flowing, Mackenzie seems to have fallen for the dangerous glamour of high stakes gambling.
“It's kind of exciting isn’t it? It’s not allowed, it’s underground, it’s secretive and there’s an aspect of that being a thrill as well,” Emily agreed.
After being emotionally blackmailed by one of the regular players, Nathan (Ryan Panizza), into subbing him some cash for a debt, Mack’s relieved when he returns her money.
But his insistence on letting his mysterious friend PK (Ryan Johnson) join the table makes her uncomfortable.
“She can tell this guy has a bit of an ego, but he’s somehow pretty important just because of the way Nathan’s acting around him,” Emily shared.
“But she’s seen the benefits of money coming in, so when PK dangles the carrot and says, ‘Hey I'll pay this money to be part of the evening’, it’s an offer Mackenzie can’t refuse.
“She informs Felicity to kick some people off the table to make room for PK. She’s wary of him but she also thinks she’s smart enough to get out of him what she needs at that point.
“It’s kind of a business decision with big dollar bill signs over the top of it.”
Mackenzie may be seeing the dollar signs but she’s NOT seeing the warning signals!
Things take an even more dodgy turn after PK convinces Mack to keep a suspicious Felicity away from the poker nights.
Emily teased that from then on, things get real and the poker nights will set off a chain of terrifying events…
“They have a catastrophic effect on pretty much everyone, in one way or another,” she shared.
“It turns nasty and it’s very high drama, very high emotion! A lot of secrets come to the forefront, there are breakups and near-death experiences.
“There’s a lot that’s jam-packed in and the ripple effect of these poker nights really does take the bay by storm for many, many characters.”
Could we see Mack losing Salt for good? She’s been running the restaurant ever since she arrived in 2019 and we can’t imagine her anywhere else!
“The risk of Mack losing Salt only increases more and more as the story progresses and she does get to a point where it’s pretty clear where she very well may lose everything,” hinted Emily.
“As a character, she's very much tied to her work whereas other characters' work is the second or third thing about them.
“Mackenzie in the diner or Mackenzie at the bait shop! Can you imagine? Peeling prawns or putting the bait together! Salt is her domain, definitely.
“She still hangs around the Salt balcony but whether or not she retains it, you’ll have to wait and see!”
Home and Away airs weekdays at 1:15 pm on Channel 5 and 6:00 pm on 5Star followed by a 'first look' episode on 5Star at 6:30 pm.
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