- A subsidiary of SkyCity Entertainment Group Ltd in partnering with Gaming Innovation Group Inc to create a new online casino.
- Gaming Innovation Group will operate and service the ‘SkyCity Casino’ site from its Malta base.
- SkyCity says it will ensure any obligations under New Zealand GST legislation will be complied with.
- The online site is not expected to have a material impact on revenues this year, but is expected to have “long-term relevance”.
- The site is expected to launch in mid-2019.
SkyCity Malta Ltd, a subsidiary of New Zealand’s largest tourism, leisure and entertainment company, is set to create its first online casino after announcing a partnership with Gaming Innovation Group Inc (GiG).
Under the terms of the partnership, GiG will operate the ‘SkyCity Casino’ site from its Malta base on behalf of SkyCity to offer online gambling to customers in New Zealand.
Under current New Zealand law, only government-owned Lottery and the TAB are permitted to offer online gaming from within New Zealand. However, several online gambling platforms are already accessible to New Zealanders through other offshore operators.
SkyCity Chief Executive Graeme Stephens said though the online casino will be operated from offshore, the company will make sure any obligations under New Zealand GST legislation are complied with.
“We believe the SkyCity Casino online gaming site offers customers an opportunity to enjoy playing in a safe, secure environment with a brand they know and trust and we will be striving to set the benchmark for any regulation in the future,” he said.
Graeme said SkyCity’s “conservative” entry to online gaming will actively avoid sales and marketing tactics adopted by some other existing overseas operators.
“This means SkyCity is not initially expecting to monetise materially from this initiative – it should be seen more as a strategic entry into a space that we believe has long-term relevance,” he said.
The existing online casino market in New Zealand is already well-established, but SkyCity says the offshore companies offering these games are not liable to pay local gaming tax, are unlikely to be paying GST in New Zealand, and are not required to comply with the host responsibility practices of land-based operators.
SkyCity currently operates four of New Zealand’s six land-based casinos, and Graeme says SkyCity would be supportive of any future plans by the Government to regulate the New Zealand online casino market.
If SkyCity eventually becomes a licensed operator in a regulated New Zealand online casino market, the agreement with GiG allows for SkyCity to assume the business-to-customer components of the business in the same way it does for its current land-based operations
SkyCity’s online gambling site is expected to launch in mid-2019.