SkyCity reports “encouraging” business since reopening of three casinos following COVID-19 shutdown

SkyCity reports “encouraging” business since reopening of three casinos following COVID-19 shutdown

New Zealand-based casino operator SkyCity Entertainment Group has announced that its three local entertainment properties have been enjoying “encouraging” business since their reopening following lengthy corona virus pandemic-induced shutdown.

SkyCity Entertainment’s three casinos in Auckland, Hamilton and Queenstown resumed operations on 14th of May, after remaining closed for nearly two months due to corona virus outbreak that has infected millions of people and claimed thousands of lives across the globe.

In its latest trading update, the casino operator said that it was encouraging as local gamblers and entertainment enthusiasts started heading back to its casinos in the aforementioned three cities. The company said that domestic gaming activity at its Hamilton casino and its flagship Auckland casino has been recovering fast, especially in electronic gaming machines category. Table game activity has been on a steady improvement after a slow start.

The reopened casinos are now operating under a long string of new health and safety precautions, including limited attendance, lower number of gaming positions, arrangement to ensure social distancing, marking off areas like entrance and registration desks, and compulsory temperature screenings for team members as well as guests. All the casinos, along with their slot machines, tables and carpets, are being repeatedly cleaned and sanitized to reduce the potential risk of corona virus infections. In addition, workers and guests are being requested to use hand sanitizers and wear face masks.

Meanwhile, the casino operator has requested the New Zealand Gambling Commission to permanently relax of the rule that forces the casino operator to operate in any case one gaming table at each of its venues. The Commission permitted the company to temporarily operate on an electronic gaming machines-only basis at its Hamilton and Queenstown venues.

The New Zealand-based casino operator was forced to close its three local entertainment properties in March this year after authorities ordered the closure of all nonessential retail businesses to help control corona virus pandemic. The company also slashed 200 jobs in April and around 700 positions in May as part of its cost-cutting measures.

SkyCity chief executive Graeme Stephens defended the job cuts, saying that was necessary to ensure the security of the remaining thousands of jobs. However, some experts are of the view that the initial positive business indications at the reopened properties could help the company recover fast and hire back those laid off workers.