SkyCity Entertainment Group shares rose after news broker that it will open an online casino later in 2019. SkyCity Malta Limited, the company’s Maltese subsidiary, is partnering with Gaming Innovation Group on the site. “SkyCityCasino” will accept play from New Zealand bettors.
When traders heard the news, SkyCity Group’s share price rose to $3.62 on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX). SkyCity Entertainment, a Kiwi company, owns land-based casino and hotel properties in Australian and New Zealand.
Graeme Stephens, the CEO of SkyCity, said SkyCityCasino’s servers will be hosted in Malta. New Zealand allows only government-owned Lotto and TAB companies to offer online gambling from within New zealand. That keeps SkyCity from hosting servers in New Zealand, but Malta serves a trusted hub of such activity.
The government allows New Zealanders to join offshore online gambling sites, so Kiwis can sign up for SkyCity Entertainment’s bookmaker site. SkyCity said it will comply with all obligations under the New Zealand GST legislation.
Graeme Stephens on SkyCityCasino
Graeme Stephens expects the new site to be a success, because he said it gives punters a brand they can trust. Stephens noted that New Zealand provides a firm regulatory framework for residents to play online.
New Zealand’s online gambling industry generates NZ$160 million per year in revenue. A quick analysis shows that New Zealand’s online gaming market still has a lot of room for growth, if SkyCity Entertainment gives players a product they’ll like.
Expected New Zealand Online Gaming Growth
New Zealand boasts 4.79 million people, which is roughly one-half of New Jersey’s population. By comparison, New Jersey generates US$300 million a year from its online gambling industry, which translates to NZ$457 million.
The NZ$160 million thus equates to about $104 million, so New Zealand has plenty of room for expansion. That’s how Aussie traders on the ASX thought, because they invested heavily after the new appeared.
SkyCity Group’s Online Casino
Graeme Stephens said SkyCity does not expect to monetize the site to any high degree in the near future. Instead, SkyCityCasino serves as an investment in the future. Stephens added, “It should be seen more as a strategic entry into a space that we believe has long-term relevance.”
Stephens once again called for a regulatory framework that allows SkyCity to operate fully inside New Zealand. He then said, “While ultimately a regulated online gaming market is the best solution, we think this is a great first step that allows us entry to a new industry and gives our customers an option they have been looking for.”
“Online casinos are widely used by New Zealand customers and this trend will only continue. The world is rapidly moving online and our industry is no exception.”
By launching a bookmaker site for domestic users, SkyCity is meeting a demand. Stephens added, “We have to ensure we remain relevant to changing consumer trends and preferences.”
Brand name recognition should give SkyCity Entertainment a big advantage, because New Zealand’s players know them well. SkyCity Auckland is the largest casino in New Zealand. Its brick-and-mortar casinos in Hamilton and Queenstown give it broad visibility across New Zealand.
SkyCity’s Established Brand
Graham Stephens added, “As an established land-based casino operator with significant investments in New Zealand and a track record of compliance in a highly regulated environment, we know a great deal about host responsibility and harm minimisation.”
“We believe the skycitycasino online gaming site offers customers an opportunity to enjoy playing in a safe, secure environment.”
The SkyCity chief said his company gives Kiwis “a brand they know and trust, so we will be striving to set the benchmark for any regulation in the future.”