SKYCITY Wants To Go Online In NZ

Tia Winter | 25 March 2019

New Zealand hasn’t yet made any substantial moves towards legalising or regulating its own online gambling market. There has been a lot of talk, but no tangible action. Government is fully aware of the fact that every day, thousands of Kiwis take to the ether to play games on foreign operator sites, but locally based entities are not allowed to operate their own casinos online.

But now, land-based casino operator SKYCITY wants to change all of that by becoming the online operator of choice to all Kiwi players. This may seem unrealistic given the lack of regulation in the country, but SKYCITY plans on making use of a very small but significant regulatory loophole in the system.  

Creating New Opportunities

In New Zealand, online casino operators aren’t allowed to offer paid games of chance from within the borders of the country, but there are no laws forbidding those same operators from offering gambling games to local players from outside of the borders of the country. 

According to the operator, it is currently considering what the best location will be for the establishment of its games server. Australia, says SKYCITY, would have been ideal given its close proximity to New Zealand, but the fact that online gambling has been illegal in Aus since 2017, New Zealand’s strategic neighbour is no longer an option.

Games First, Bets Later

SKYCITY’S Colin Espiner is excited about New Zealand’s potential as a focus market for online gambling games. Espiner said that despite the fact that Australia was no longer a viable option from which to offer its games, Malta remained a first-class alternative.

At first, SKYCITY’S focus will be on real-money online casino games. Sports betting won’t be part of the initial offer, but will hopefully become a practical consideration somewhere down the line. Many New Zealand nationals have in the past voiced the hope that sports betting will someday be fully legalised in the country on a local basis too.


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