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SkyCity NZ workers strike over pay

Mon, Sep 9, 8:23am by Staff Writer

SkyCity casino workers went on strike for a second consecutive week over pay rates, Casino Buzz reports.

Unite union’s national secretary Gerard Hehir said the workers were seeking better pay rates for weekend and night work, but the negotiations with SkyCity had made no progress.

He said the union members had voted to strike from 10pm last Friday night until 8am on Monday morning.

The union also went on strike last weekend.

He said there were about 2,000 employees at SkyCity and about 900 were union members, with a big majority of the front of house staff.

“We’ve had about 50 to 60 new members int he past week, which is a really good sign – people who actually weren’t previously part of the union have been signing up saying ‘yup, we want what you’re fighting for and we’re keen to help’.”

Mr Hehir said SkyCity did offer weekend and night rates in its Australian casino in Adelaide, and should do the same for its four casinos in New Zealand.

He said the only offer SkyCity had made was to discuss rostering, but they had been doing that for two years already.

SkyCity officials have said that they have offered a six to 25 per cent increase in wages over the next two years.

SkyCity launching into online gaming

SkyCity Entertainment Group is posed to tap into the lucrative online gaming space, with plans to launch a platform that will be operated from Malta, the NZ Herald reported in May.

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

As part of the agreement, GiG will provide a full suite online casino solution, which includes a technical platform, gaming content, managed services and front-end development.

The arrangements will be structured primarily as a revenue share arrangement, with the majority of operating costs variable or directly linked to revenue generation, SkyCity said.

Chief executive Graeme Stephens said the firm’s entry into online gaming will be “conservative”.

As a result, SkyCity “is not initially expecting to monetise 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.

New Zealand law only allows for lotto and TAB online

Under current New Zealand law, only government-owned Lotto and the TAB are permitted to offer online gaming from within New Zealand.

However, many New Zealanders freely participate in online casinos provided by offshore operators.

“Online casinos are widely used by New Zealand customers and this trend will only continue,” Mr Stephens said.

“The world is rapidly moving online and our industry is no exception, so we have to ensure we remain relevant to changing consumer trends and preferences,” he said.

According to SkyCity, estimates suggest New Zealanders spend approximately $160 million a year on online casino platforms currently provided by offshore operators.

The offshore companies offering these games are not liable to pay local gaming tax, are unlikely to be paying GST in New Zealand and are not required to comply with the host responsibility practices of land-based operators, it said.

Although the online casino will be operated from offshore, it will comply with its obligations under New Zealand GST legislation, it said.

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