SkyCity said it had a strong start to its 2023 financial period, due to group earnings being 10% above pre-covid levels, but not enough for the casino operator to give a statutory update on its first-quarter results.

Before the casino and hospitality company's annual meeting this afternoon, chief executive Michael Ahearne told the New Zealand stock exchange (NZX) that its domestic consumer environment had stayed robust, despite an “uncertain economic environment”.

“New Zealand performance is being driven by a stronger than anticipated recovery of hospitality venues and positive local gaming performance, particularly from gaming machines in Auckland and Hamilton,” he said.

The casino operator has five venues across New Zealand and Australia.

Ahearne said SkyCity was cautious about “extrapolating” its performance and wouldn’t be releasing statuary first-quarter results or an outlook into the full 2023 financial year.

Australia probe

Ahearne said that, across the Tasman, SkyCity Adelaide achieved its highest revenue result yet in the first quarter. Adelaide is SkyCity’s biggest venue after Auckland.

In his address on the Adelaide market, non-executive director Glenn Davis said the Australian casino industry had been under “intense focus” and SkyCity Adelaide was the subject of close review due to the non-compliance and licensing probes the casino is facing.

“All of which you’ve been no doubt reading about in the media,” he added.

He said the two inquiries had been a “heavy burden” on SkyCity’s people but they had continued to meet the demands of the inquiry schedules.

“Whilst we’d all like to have these inquiries behind us and know the answer, it’s too early for us to say anything definitively about where these inquiries might go,” he said.

Whatever the outcome, SkyCity didn’t want criminal activity to “infiltrate” its properties, Davis said. Or be involved with anyone seeking to launder the proceeds of criminal activity.

SkyCity was up 1.5% to $2.74 when the NZX opened this morning.