SkyCity To Launch New Online Casino For NZ This Year
SkyCity Entertainment Group has made a name for itself as a land based casino operator in New Zealand.
The company wants to expand further its presence with an online offering. When SkyCity announced its plans to launch an online casino and target the New Zealand market, it received a lot of flak from the government.
That did not stop the casino operator who opened an office in Malta called SkyCity Malta. The Mediterranean company recently announced that it has partnered up with the Gaming Innovation Group to create an online casino that will be available to players in New Zealand.
The company expects to launch its SkyCity Online casino by mid-2019.
SkyCity primarily operates in New Zealand and its expansion into online gambling has caused an outcry. Earlier this year, Internal Affairs Minister Tracey Martin said she was disappointed in SkyCity’s plans for launching an online casino. She pointed out that SkyCity was taking advantage of a big hole in the New Zealand gambling laws and wasn’t very happy with the company’s decision.
Another vocal critic is Problem Gambling Services spokeswoman Andree Froude. She pointed out that this new casino site could potentially put New Zealanders at risk. What makes things more concerning is that based on current New Zealand gambling laws, the government would not be able to protect the site’s users. She also pointed out that 24/7 access to gambling can be a big problem for gamblers who are battling an addiction.
SkyCity CEO Responds
SkyCity CEO Graeme Stephens played down those concerns and said that the new online casino would help provide a safe and secure environment for players to gamble. Stephens says that SkyCity does not expect to bring in any profits from the online casino initially and the main goal is to set up a presence in the online gambling market.
Stephens is also well aware of the opposition against this move. He says that his company will support any future legislation that the New Zealand government looking to bring in to regulate the online gambling market. This includes any amendments to licenses and taxes. He went on to say that the best solution for New Zealand is to have a regulated iGaming market. However, SkyCity felt that it was in its best interests to enter the iGaming market and offer Kiwis a safe betting option.
Online casinos are a popular pastime for New Zealanders, with $160 million being spent every year on online wagers.