The 6.3 magnitude earthquake that struck Christchurch in New Zealand on February 22 forced the evacuation of SkyCity Entertainment's casino in the heart of the city. Fortunately no serious injuries were sustained by either staff or customers.

The tragic event has cost the lives of more than 150 people, while rescue teams across the city continue to work tirelessly through the rubble to find those who remain unaccounted for.

SkyCity confirmed that all Christchurch Casino staff and customers were evacuated safely immediately after the earthquake. Some staff and customers sustained minor injuries and were treated.

Despite its location and the force of the quake, the casino is believed to have escaped any major structural problems and has sustained only superficial damage. It remains within the Christchurch Council’s state of emergency cordon, however, delaying structural inspections and ensuring that operations will not resume for some time.

“We have 500 staff who are currently not able to work as we remain in the cordon but we’re hoping that these restrictions might be revised at some stage in the next week,” corporate communications manager Scott Campbell told InterGaming.

“You’ll be able to see that the Christchurch Casino didn’t suffer any major structural damage, so we are really now just in a holding pattern awaiting the decisions of the council and authorities as to when we might be able to return to the casino.”  

In a show of solidarity with the people of Christchurch and those leading the rescue efforts, SkyCity’s Auckland Sky Tower has been illuminated red to raise awareness of the Red Cross appeal since the quake struck.

The company has donated NZ$500,000 to the Christchurch Earthquake appeal and has set aside a further NZ$250,000 to match donations made by its staff across Australasia. It is also hosting members of the Japanese Search and Rescue team at the company’s Grand Hotel in Auckland to assist with the relief efforts.