New Zealand: Christchurch Casino reopens but with no poker

The city of Christchurch has eased Covid-19 restrictions.
The city of Christchurch has eased Covid-19 restrictions.

With Christchurch moving to Alert Level 2, the casino has been allowed to reopen but poker operations won’t resume this year.

New Zealand.- The city of Christchurch has downgraded its Covid-19 alert to Alert Level 2, which means Christchurch Casino has been allowed to reopen. However, it won’t be able to resume poker operations or hold the New Zealand Poker Championship due to social distancing measures.

The casino hasn’t said whether visitors will be required to be fully vaccinated but customers will have to wear masks except for when they are eating or drinking.

The casino operator said: “For Poker to operate certain restrictions needs to be removed, the main one now is the Social distancing that allows for more runners on a table game. 

“This means NZPC 2021 will more than likely not see a card dealt. We do plan to go with NZPC 2022 as soon as we see an opportunity- so this could be early 2022 if things clear up.”

Christchurch will not relax gambling rules

The city of Christchurch has decided not to change its current policy regulating gambling and TAB venues after anti-gambling campaigners asked authorities to retain restrictions on pokies and gambling venues.

The decision has been criticised by the Gaming Machine Association of New Zealand, which had asked authorities to ease the existing regulations. Jarrod True, on behalf of the association, asked the city council to conduct public consultations before deciding to stick to the current poker machine policy. 

True had asked the committee to replace the existing sinking lid policy with a more lenient regime. He also called on authorities to allow operators to transfer their poker machine licences to other locations.

Currently, there are 82 clubs and bar gambling venues in Christchurch, with a total of 1,291 slot machines in operationThe number of pokies has decreased when compared to the 2,158 poker machines that were in operation in 2004. The number of gambling venues declined 50 per cent from 164 to 82 during the same period.

Despite the drop, the city still has more poker machines per capita than the national average, with 3.3 machines per 1,000 residents in Christchurch. 

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Covid-19 land-based casino