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SkyCity Entertainment Group is ready to take advantage of the lucrative online gaming space with plans to launch a mid-year platform that will operate from Malta.

The casino operator said its Maltese subsidiary, SkyCity Malta, will partner with Gaming Innovation Group, an international iGaming company, to launch the online game site "skycitycasino".

As part of the agreement, GiG will provide a full suite online casino solution that includes a technical platform, game content, managed services and front-end development. The agreements will be structured primarily as an income-sharing arrangement, with the majority of operating costs variable or directly linked to revenue generation, SkyCity said.

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Chief Executive Graeme Stephens said the firm's entry into the online games will be "conservative."

As a result, SkyCity "initially does not expect to monetize materially from this initiative, it should be seen more as a strategic entry into a space that we believe has long-term relevance," he said.

Under the current law of New Zealand, only Lotto and TAB, government owned, can offer online games from New Zealand. However, many New Zealanders participate freely in online casinos provided by offshore operators.

"New Zealand customers use online casinos extensively and this trend will only continue, the world is moving rapidly online and our industry is no exception, so we must make sure to remain relevant to changing the trends and preferences of the consumers, "Stephens said.

According to SkyCity, estimates suggest that New Zealanders spend approximately $ 160 million per year on online casino platforms currently provided by offshore operators. The offshore companies that offer these games are not required to pay local gambling taxes, are unlikely to pay GST in New Zealand and are not required to comply with the liability practices of land operators, he said.

VIRTUAL POKER: Using assumed identities, players who could be from anywhere in the world play in cyberspace.
VIRTUAL POKER: Using assumed identities, players who could be from anywhere in the world play in cyberspace.

SkyCity plans to be different.

Although the online casino will be operated from abroad, it will fulfill its obligations under the New Zealand GST legislation, he said. Stephens also said that SkyCity would support any future plan by the government to regulate the New Zealand online casino market, including the introduction of an appropriate licensing regime for operators and the imposition of taxes and mandatory requirements of host responsibility.

"We believe that skycitycasino's online gaming site offers customers the opportunity to enjoy playing in a safe environment with a brand they know and trust," he said. "We will strive to establish the benchmark for any regulation in the future."

If SkyCity eventually becomes a licensed operator in a regulated online casino market in New Zealand, the agreement with GiG allows SkyCity to assume the business-to-consumer components of the business in the same way it does for its current land-based activities. .

The company's shares were last negotiated at $ 3.82 and have risen 7.6 percent so far this year.