We’ve been keeping an eye on the SkyCity Entertainment Group Limited’s share price lately, following the release of an update on the all-new Sky City Online Casino.
SkyCity Announced New Online Casino
SkyCity recently announced that SkyCity Malta, its Maltese subsidiary, has launched its very first offshore online gambling platform, Sky City Casino. The new platform is a partnership between the SkyCity team and renowned iGaming business, Gaming Innovation Group (GiG). The casino is set to provide New Zealanders with a new offshore online casino.
The idea is that GiG will provide SkyCity Malta with a comprehensive online casino solution, including the technical platform, managed servers, frontend development and all the gaming content. As a business, SkyCity Casino will be managed by a European-based online director.
Chief Executive Officer of SkyCity, Graeme Stephens, has explained the rationale for the website launch, saying that these are exciting times for the company, and a project they have apparently been working towards for some time in conjunction with GiG and Sky City Malta.
Naturally, a regulated online gambling market would be the number one solution, but the casino’s site launch is another step in the company’s journey for pursuing opportunities to grow while diversifying their earnings. It’s also the perfect platform from which to address a new and rapidly emerging industry that perfectly complements the business’s land-based activities, offering gamers a multi-channel experience.
Exceptional Market Opportunity for Sky City
According to earlier press releases, Sky City mentioned that the current online gaming market in New Zealand is already well established, with a number of top sites in operation. Further, it’s estimated that around NZ$ 160 million a year is spent by New Zealand players at online casinos.
This is still small in comparison to the country’s land-based casino market, but there is immense growth potential. It’s clear that if Sky City can successfully carve out a leadership position right out of the gate, it may just become a key driver of growth in the long run.
The Law on Gambling in New Zealand
New Zealanders have been gambling for centuries. But for years, lawmakers in the country sat back and left the industry unregulated. This all changed in 2003, when politicians voted in the Gambling Act of 2003, rendering all forms of gambling in the country illegally unless otherwise approved by the government. This included online gaming activities.
Lawmakers, however, have since changed their stance. Now, the New Zealand government makes it perfectly clear that online gambling is permitted, provided it is done through platforms that are based abroad. Online casino operators are still banned from basing operations in New Zealand.
So, it was in March this year that Sky City, one of the major casino operators in the country, announced that they were planning to launch their new online casino.
Debating the Legality of Online Gambling for New Zealanders
The New Zealand government has been taking a close look at their current gambling laws. Several lawmakers, amongst them a House of Representative’s member, Tracey Martin, are vetoing for new legislation towards the gambling industry. Interestingly, the New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs is set to launch a public consultation on just how to go about online gaming entertainment.
The New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs has so far offered up four new solutions on the subject. They are discussing limiting the number of online casinos allowed to operate in the country, as well as expanding New Zealand’s gambling monopolies. Some lawmakers are even calling for the country to set out a licensing procedure for foreign casino operators.
Since online gambling is currently regulated in New Zealand, the government does not earn revenue from this industry. It if it were to implement taxing and licensing, the government could be set to earn millions every month. This is a possibility that lawmakers are reportedly very seriously considering.
One issue still in discussion is the issue of money laundering. According to the New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs, Sky City’s new online casino may just unintentionally be encouraging international criminals to launder their money. However, officials at the company have been quick to respond, citing that the company has stringent anti-money laundering measures in place.
What You Need to Know About Sky City Online Casino in New Zealand
Meanwhile, the New Zealand-based group has been working full steam ahead to introduce its online casino and exploiting a legislation gap by basing the platform offshore.
CEO, Graeme Stephens has reportedly told the media that the operator has been ready to move forward with the online casino since August last year, and while they weren’t yet ready to announce where the casino would be based, we now know it’s in Malta, with a spokesman for Sky City, Colin Espiner, stating at the time that Europe is a fair bet as that’s where a great deal of online gambling is based.
The company has further said that New Zealanders will be permitted to play at the new online casino, although the company will not advertise in its home country. By doing things this way, it is estimated that Sky City will take a sizeable piece of the 242 million Euros offshore operators make off local punters every year.
It is thought that the business itself will generate 25 million Euros in tax revenue for New Zealand. However, it still remains to be seen whether or not the government will take that money, considering the industry is still not technically above board in the country.
Tracey Martins, New Zealand’s Internal Affairs Minister, has told the press that she is disappointed that Sky City is pushing ahead, and has further criticised local legislation, saying that the entire situations highlight just how inadequate the laws currently are. She’s also been quoted as saying that there is currently no way to control the huge number of offshore gambling games coming into the country.
Sky City Casino Forges Ahead, Regardless
Despite all the uproar, Sky City online casino has launched. It is based offshore in Malta and offers a wide range of gambling options, including poker, table games and pokies. Since the casino operates out of Malta, it is completely entitled to target New Zealand players.
At the moment, only New Zealand players can access the online casino, and players must be 20 years or older to register an account. The site has yet to launch a mobile app, but the operator is requesting that players pin the website on their mobile devices.
Furthermore, the online casino site claims that it is in no way associated with its land-based casino in New Zealand. Officials are maintaining that it may be in the same family, but it operates independently.
It’s all good news for casino fans, though, who can register a new player account now.
Despite the government voicing its disapproval with the new online casino, Sky City online casino is up and running, and there is little doubt that within the next few years, the government will make a formal decision on the industry. Keep an eye on our news page for more updates as we get them.