SkyCity Online Casino Turns Profit After One Year
Last year, we reported that SkyCity Entertainment opened an offshore online casino. This drew the ire of Internal Affairs Minister Tracey Martin, but SkyCity forged ahead with plans. Those plans now make SkyCity look like a genius.
The company now reports that its online casino is already profitable after a single year. According to reports, the COVID-19 pandemic was a factor in the casino turning profitable so quickly.
Online Casino Profits $2.2M in First Year
SkyCity’s fiscal 2020 annual report came out on Thursday and the company reports fantastic news for their online gambling division. Their online casino division brought in revenue of NZ$4.5 million and total profits of NZ$2.2 million.
Naturally, this trend was due to the coronavirus pandemic. Through August, SkyCity has 35,000 customer registrations. Approximately 15,000 of those registrations came in the 90 days prior. The result is that the casino is cash positive every month since April.
New Zealand casinos are now open and this did impact overall online casino registrations. However, anytime there is a lull in live activity, such as the temporary shutdown in July, online numbers spike.
SkyCity believes that online membership will continue to increase. During the report, the company stated, “The launch … is an important step on the journey of pursuing opportunities to grow and diversify our earnings.”
SkyCity Coming Under Fire for Possible Loyalty Promotion Shenanigans
There are reports surfacing that SkyCity may be using contact tracing as a way to bolster Premier Rewards Loyalty Club memberships. At one point, the casino restricted entry to the casino to only Premier Rewards members. Part of this was because the company could conduct contact tracing on players.
Now, reports are surfacing that claim that residents are being barred from playing at the Auckland casino if they don’t sign up for the loyalty program. One such player offered to install the government’s COVID tracer app, but this did not satisfy the casino.
SkyCity is naturally denying these allegations and claiming that restrictions are in place to comply with government regulations. Still, it would seem that they’d have some type of alternative to those not wishing to sign up for the loyalty program.
Company Looks to Progress Online Casino Opportunity
As we all know, online casino gambling is illegal in Australia. That’s why SkyCity was forced to open its casino in Malta. Aussie law does not prevent casinos from offering offshore casinos, provided that they don’t advertise or target Australian players.
SkyCity is looking to change this. According to the report issued yesterday, one of the company’s goals in FY21 is to “progress online casino opportunity” in New Zealand. What that means is unknown at this point, but it probably includes trying to lobby the government to try and change online gambling laws to allow Aussie casinos to offer online gambling products to citizens.
The way that the laws are presently structured, it is illegal for Aussie casinos to operate an online casino inside of Australia or New Zealand. It is also illegal for offshore companies to offer online gambling services to Australians.
However, the law does not allow for the prosecution of offshore casinos. As such, there are many offshore companies offering Australian online casinos, and the government is not receiving benefits in the form of tax dollars.
The opposite should be true. Casinos within Australia and New Zealand should be allowed to offer online gambling to citizens. This would allow for the taxation of online gambling, giving more money to the government. It would also allow for greater control. Presently, the only thing that’s being done is by the ACMA. They are issuing block orders against online casinos.
It is clear Aussies want online gambling. The pandemic proved this with a 67% jump in online gambling. Now it is time for the government to reverse course and allow Aussie casinos to offers online casino games and other forms of online gambling.
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