The fire that impacted Auckland for three days starting on the 22nd of October, originated from the New Zealand International Convention Centre. Construction workers within the building at the time were working on converting the building to become part of the SkyCity Complex. The fire is believed to have been started by a young, construction worker leaving a blow torch unattended on the roof of the building.
The convention centre was a premium destination for all types of meetings and events, and despite the fire causing damage to the building and surrounding areas, the Centre can remain open. In fact, according to the New Zealand International Convention Centre’s (NZICC’s) website, the only change in planning has been to the Asia-Pacific Association for International Education’s accommodation for March 2021, with contingency plans in place should alternatives be needed in Auckland or surrounding areas for all other events that were planned for the convention centre.
What’s this mean for SkyCity?
SkyCity, for the past few months has been a regular part of the New Zealand news cycle. Due in part to the launch of their SkyCity Online Casino brand. So, the current fire has sought to just further keep all eyes pointed at the SkyCity group as New Zealand continues to sit on the fence regarding regulation of online gambling.
Besides the obvious media pressure faced by SkyCity because of this much publicised event, the fire has also very directly affected the employees of SkyCity. With employees returning to work, almost immediately after firefighters had gotten the fire under control (on Friday, 25th of October), many employees complained about their working conditions. Employees raised questions over just how safe it was to work at the centre, given that some reported they were still able to smell the smoke next door. The jury is still out on whether the employees were correct or not though.
The effects of the fire have even extended to the very top levels of management at SkyCity with SkyCity Entertainment Group Limited’s director, Richard Didbury, resigning as director of the group after 9 years at the massive, entertainment and gambling business. The decision to resign by Didsbury has come to prevent any questions of conflict that could arise due to his position on the board of Northern Express Group, whose investors include Fletcher Building Limited, the company tasked with the construction that led to the fire.
It’s clear then that despite the fact the fire that erupted on the roof of NZICC’s building during construction only lasted for 2-3 days, that the effects of the fire will be felt for a few years. All things considered, things could have gone much worse, with no one dying as a direct result of the fire due to the prompt response of the firefighters. Nevertheless, the fire had a big impact on SkyCity, its employees and its image.
2019 – A Year of Success for the SkyCity Group?
Despite the slightly dour end to the year, for the SkyCity Group, there are still some good things to look back on in the year for the SkyCity Entertainment Group. Its newly launched Malta-based, online-casino continues unhampered by recent events. In fact, SkyCity Online remains our second most visited casino, with Jonny Jackpot and their no-deposit, free spins offer narrowly beating out SkyCity in terms of interest in the kiwi online gambling community.
SkyCity Online’s Future
It is a well-known story by now, how SkyCity partnered with Gaming Innovation Group (GIG) to launch the extremely popular SkyCity Online Casino. And the brand’s online reputation has just grown leaps and bounds in the past few months since, its launch.
Despite SkyCity Online’s obvious popularity with the kiwi population, the future of the online sector of SkyCity group is still slightly up in the air, at least within the New Zealand borders. It’s because of the gambling act that’s been in place since 2003, coming under increased scrutiny, it remains to be seen what the government will decide when it comes to regulating the online industry.