SkyCity Launches New Zealand Online Casino
SkyCity, the New Zealand based casino operator, has officially launched one of the most comprehensive online casinos in New Zealand. The massive undertaking took the support of MT SecureTrade Ltd, which is a subsidiary of the renowned Gaming Innovation Group (GIG.) The site, officially titled SkyCityCasino.com, offers players a vast selection of games. This includes the expected assortment of RNG titles, as well as a host of live casino games powered by Evolution Gaming. Even virtual sports are offered, which are still in their infancy as far as online casinos are concerned.
The site currently does not support dedicated mobile play, but an official from SkyCity has explained that this is currently in development. As a workaround it was suggested that visitors can simply bookmark the URL for convenience.
Currently only New Zealand locals can visit the site, but a default message displayed to foreign visitors suggest that international access is a future priority.
A Separate Entity
What came as a surprise was an official declaration that SkyCityCasino.com is separate from the iconic brick and mortar establishment of the same name. Upon being asked if players at the land-based venue could transfer their accounts over to the online operation, a spokesman responded that this would not be possible. According to him, the two establishments are completely separate entities, linked only by name.
But this small hiccup is not the only problem facing the new online operation. Controversy has surrounded SkyCityCasino.com even before launch. This is because the license of operation is valid in Malta, and not New Zealand. The glaring issue sent the New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) into a frenzy, with multiple consultations being launched into how to handle the situation. An official decision has not yet been reached.
Money Laundering Concerns
If the licensing concerns weren’t enough, the SkyCity physical venue was rocked by controversies of its own. These came in the form of open accusations of unwittingly facilitating money laundering. Mike Stone of the DIA publicly declared his suspicions, stating that money laundering was almost certainly occurring in the brick and mortar venue.
A representative from SkyCity responded quickly, speaking on behalf of the casino. The establishment insisted that strict anti-money laundering programs were in place, and that suspicious activity was immediately reported to the authorities.
In 2014 a high roller was arrested in the venue for being linked to an international methamphetamine criminal organisation. The arrest was pointed to as proof that everything possible is being done to combat criminal activity. But Stone seems to be suggesting that there is far more than a single criminal individual still operating in the casino.