SkyCity Auckland Casino’s Tower to Glow Rainbow Tonight After All COVID-19 Restrictions Dropped

  • Auckland, New Zealand will lift its COVID-19 restrictions at 11:59pm this evening
  • Guests can now return to the casino resort without face masks or social distancing
  • The casino resort’s full reopening follows sister casinos in Hamilton, Queenstown
  • SkyCity Auckland was forced to shut down August 12 and reopened August 31 with restrictions

 

Auckland's SkyCity tower glowing purple
SkyCity’s casino resort in Auckland is ready to celebrate the lifting of the New Zealand city’s COVID-19 restrictions starting at 11:59pm tonight. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Auckland drops to Alert Level 1

SkyCity Auckland will light its Sky Tower in rainbow colors at midnight local time tonight, as Auckland lifts all COVID-19 restrictions starting at 11:59pm.

The colorful tribute is to celebrate Auckland’s move to Alert Level 1, and is the casino resort’s way of “thanking Aucklanders for coming together in the ongoing fight against COVID-19,” independent New Zealand news website Scoop reported today.

As Auckland moves to Alert Level 1, social distancing restrictions and the wearing of masks is no longer mandatory. This means SkyCity Auckland will remove zoning measures previously implemented under Level 2. Members of the public can now return to the casino; the majority of the property’s restaurants will also reopen.

the world’s first major integrated resort to reopen without any COVID-19 restrictions

While sister casinos in Hamilton and Queenstown fully reopened September 22, SkyCity Auckland is reportedly the world’s first major integrated resort to reopen without any COVID-19 restrictions.

SkyCity’s Sky Tower will initially shine yellow and white from sunset tonight, with the rainbow spectacle starting at midnight.

Another New Zealand first

Hosting the first major casino in the world reported to have ditched pandemic protocols isn’t the only first for New Zealand. In early August, the country was the first in the world to declare itself free of COVID-19. Unfortunately, it had to go back into lockdown shortly thereafter. Under government orders on August 12, SkyCity Auckland was forced to shut down as the city was moved to Alert Level 3.

The Auckland casino resort then reopened on August 31 under Alert Level 2 restrictions. Subsequent physical distancing protocols led to the resort allowing entry exclusively to SkyCity Premier Rewards members.

Aucklanders and New Zealanders stuck to the plan and beat the virus again.”

But, as of tonight, SkyCity Auckland will be back in full swing. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern declared on Monday that “Aucklanders and New Zealanders stuck to the plan [. . .] and beat the virus again.”

Back to business

With its complement of over 2,100 slot machines, 150 table games, 323 hotel rooms, and over a dozen restaurants and bars, SkyCity Auckland will be itching to utilize its dormant assets.

Like most casino resort operators worldwide, 2020 has been a challenging year for the SkyCity Entertainment Group, with its normalized profit down 60% from 2019, according to Radio New Zealand.

SkyCity’s reported net profit was NZ$235m (US$154.8m) for the year ended June 2020. Profits were boosted by asset sales and a NZ$337m (US$222m) insurance payout from the Convention Centre fire in October. The group’s normalised profit for FY20, however, removed those one-off gains to post a figure of just NZ$66.3m (US$43.6m).

“A wide range of strategic decisions and actions have had to be taken to mitigate the impacts of, first, the fire and then the impacts of COVID-19,” said SkyCity Entertainment Group CEO Graeme Stephens.

Stephens also said that, while the latest lockdown in Auckland cost the company over NZ$30m (US$19.7m) in lost revenue, he expected the group’s Malta, Europe-based online casino operation to become a more significant revenue earner.