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SkyCity's CEO Sounds Alarm on Deceptive Online Gambling Tactics

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In a bid to protect its patrons from falling prey to deceitful online gambling platforms, SkyCity, a prominent entertainment company in New Zealand, has raised an alarm regarding the proliferation of fraudulent websites using its brand to entice unsuspecting victims.

Increase in Deceptive Online Gambling Tactics

Operating a chain of esteemed casinos in Auckland, Hamilton, and Queenstown, in addition to its online presence, SkyCity's Chief Executive, Michael Ahearne, voiced concern over the surge in online advertisements that cunningly employ the company's name, logo, and visual identity to target potential customers.

These misleading advertisements have surfaced on Facebook, luring users to download an app from Google Play, a tactic that has raised red flags for the company.

We are concerned that Kiwis are being misled into thinking they are playing on our SkyCity online casino when they are not.

Michael AhearneSkyCity's Chief Executive

Earlier this week, a Facebook page impersonating SkyCity managed to amass 3200 followers before being promptly taken down. Ahearne emphasizes the importance of vigilance in verifying web addresses and exercising caution when clicking on links to ensure security.

Calling for stricter online gambling regulation in New Zealand, Ahearne contends that this will serve as a safeguard against the proliferation of fraudulent activities. He stresses the need for regulators to be endowed with the authority to tackle rogue operators intent on deceiving New Zealanders.

Under the existing Gambling Act, it is illegal to endorse or advertise live casinos and gambling sites that originate outside New Zealand or are operated by entities located outside the country. However, overseas gambling operators often find ways to circumvent these rules, leaving unsuspecting consumers vulnerable.

SkyCity's Vigilance

SkyCity has been diligent in reporting instances of fraudulent use of its branding directly to social media platforms and to the gambling regulator, the Department of Internal Affairs. In the second quarter of this year, government cybersecurity agency Cert NZ received 474 reports related to online scams and instances of fraud, representing a 24% decrease from the preceding quarter. Despite this decline, this category consistently ranks among the top three reported to Cert NZ, underscoring the persistent threat.

In the face of this growing menace, SkyCity's warning serves as a timely reminder for New Zealanders to exercise caution and diligence while engaging in online gambling activities. By staying vigilant and supporting efforts to bolster regulatory measures, individuals can play a pivotal role in safeguarding themselves and others from falling victim to these deceptive practices.

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