How SkyCity Operates in New Zealand With an Offshore Licence

How SkyCity Operates in New Zealand With an Offshore Licence

SkyCity Casino is the country’s best known casino operator with land-based venues on both the northern and southern island. It has also been available online with its own online casino platform, despite online casinos not being legalised in our country. 

This article answers the question how SkyCity Casino manages to operate an online casino in New Zealand through what we would call a regulatory escape route. Like many other online casinos, SkyCity’s operating company is officially based in Malta where the gambling licence was issued, significantly affecting where all revenues are going.

Make Sure To Read: SkyCity Resolves Non-compliance Dispute with DIA

Understand NZ’s Online Gambling Laws

Online gaming is theoretically prohibited in New Zealand due to the Gambling Act of 2003. This regulation’s primary focus is to ensure the control and minimisation of harm from these activities. Therefore, it guarantees fairness and openness and prevents crimes associated with gambling. These laws allow only state-owned enterprises to provide gambling services to Kiwis. The act restricts all online operations within the country, except for the government-owned and managed Lotto NZ and sports betting run by TAB. However, under the law, it’s not illegal for Kiwis to access and use offshore online gambling services.

Make Sure To Read: Australian Regulator Starts Bet365 Money Laundering-Probe

SkyCity’s Escape Route

SkyCity navigated around this restriction by partnering with Malta’s Gaming Innovation Group (GiG), leveraging Malta’s reputation for favourable online gambling regulations and tax environment. By teaming up with GiG, SkyCity’s online casino services officially operate under a Maltese licence, cleverly taking advantage of the flexibility New Zealand’s gambling laws offer. Whilst the law prohibits local gambling companies from offering online casino products within the borders of the country, it doesn’t prevent Kiwis from accessing offshore-regulated sites.

The impact of this setup on our country’s economy is heavily debated. On one hand, SkyCity pays a 15% GST on online gambling revenues from New Zealand players, largely contributing to the local economy as we’re talking about a billion dollar industry. On the other hand, most profits are led back to Malta, where SkyCity’s operating company is located. As a result, New Zealand’s treasury department misses out on large amounts of tax revenue.

Make Sure To Read: Rumours Kindred Acquisition by MGM Circulate Again

Public Debate

SkyCity’s escape route has caused both public and political debate. Some policymakers have proposed to update the Gambling Act in order to close, what is sometimes referred to, the “loophole”. The main argument is that the rules that are put in place are outdated and have not grown along with developments in the last decades which have taken casinos to inline settings. Stakeholders have pointed out that New Zealand can benefit from a regulated and taxed gaming industry that offers space to both domestic and foreign investors.

Other officeholders warn that the drawbacks of regulating online casinos comes with elevated social costs, particularly urging for stricter policies against problem gambling. These measures on gambling addiction prevention are proposed even before considering the adoption of a new gambling law. Gambling helplines have warned of the rise of problem gamblers in the country due to the growth of international online casinos. Industry experts advocate for tightening restrictions and limiting access to offshore operators. Similar cases in other countries however have shown that it is too difficult to block international casinos. In October 2023, German and Italian consumers massively turned to illegal casinos with non-licenced casinos taking respectively 80% and 7% of the market share.

Make Sure To Read: German and Italian Consumers Turning To Illegal Casinos

About SkyCity

Available since 2019, SkyCity Online Casino boasts a diverse portfolio of over 1,200 casino games, including table games, online pokies, virtual sports and online bingo. Operated from Malta this online casino officially caters to a global audience but has a main focus on the country of New Zealand. New players at SkyCity Online Casino are welcomed with a generous casino bonus consisting of a $100 cash bonus and 70 free spins. Loyal players can enjoy ongoing promos and a loyalty club that offers personalised rewards. Our in-depth SkyCity review below will help you claim your welcome pack when you sign up.

Make Sure To Read: Full SkyCity Online Casino Review

Betway Withdraws Sportsbook from United States

Betway Withdraws Sportsbook from United States

Read more
Australia’s Ban On Credit Card Gambling Officially Introduced

Australia’s Ban On Credit Card Gambling Officially Introduced

Read more
LeoVegas Acquires American Gambling Operator Tipico

LeoVegas Acquires American Gambling Operator Tipico

Read more
Suspected Leader MGM Hack Arrested in Spain

Suspected Leader MGM Hack Arrested in Spain

Read more