New Zealand on Top of the Casino World, Zyrin takes EPT Sochi Title

October 9, 2020
Andrew Burnett

The casino that has outlived Covid restrictions and the differing fortunes of Macau and Nevada top the industry headlines this week, with an EPT live winner thrown in to remind us all how life always was, sometimes is and hopefully might still be!

New Zealand casino reopens without Covid Restrictions

First up, news from New Zealand that their coronavirus pandemic restrictions have been so successful that an Auckland’s SkyCity casino is the first in the world to re-open without restrictions.

The entire planet has been battling Covid-19 in various ways, but “there’s no sign of it currently” in New Zealand according to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

For SkyCity, that meant opening up and celebrating with a midnight rainbow light show from its famous Sky Tower, by way of ‘thanking Aucklanders for coming together in the ongoing fight against COVID-19.’

The nation is now at Alert level 1, its lowest possible threat. The Sky Tower is the tallest free-standing structure in the Southern Hemisphere, and Auckland’s most recognisable landmark.

Macau casino losses continue

In Macau, the mood is less optimistic, from a financial standpoint at least. The territory has just posted its 12th consecutive month with a drop in revenues, the latter six of those witnessing a 90% fall year-on-year.

Although the casinos are generally open for business, visa and travel restrictions from its main source of gamblers, China, has been seriously affecting casino revenues.

Although they pulled in just over $275million (2.2billion Patacas) in September, that is a drop in the ocean compared to normal business. According to casino insiders, there has been a rush on withdrawals in the region. “This is not millions we are talking about being taken out here, but billions,” an unnamed casino executive was reported as saying.

Zyrin bags EPT National title in Sochi

Breaking up the casino news, there has been a live tournament played in Russia, the EPT National at Sochi seeing 508 entries, and a prizepool of more than $440,000 (₽6,686,400).

Russian pro Anatolii Zyrin emerged victorious, adding an EPT title and $85,695 to his WSOP gold bracelet and $200k from last year’s $1500 buy-in Omaha Mix event in Vegas.

Last year also saw the 30-year old bag his biggest live cash to date when he finished second in the $5,000 buy-in Merit Poker Retro Main Event in Kyrenia, pocketing $359,450.

Vegas and Los Angeles casinos poles apart

Back to the cardroom and gambling hall struggles and this time news from the USA, where it appears Nevada and neighbouring California are seeing vastly different results.

While Nevada has been open for some time now, where more than 2/3rds of casinos have restarted play, their western seaboard cousins have been slower off the mark.

Los Angeles in particular have only just been allowed to open their doors after tough restrictions were imposed by Governor Newsom, this Monday past seeing five of the six cardrooms back in business, but limited as to what they can offer.

Outdoor poker only is the order of the day, with face masks, plexiglass dividers and four-player per table caps have been imposed, in light of LA’s terrible record of close to 300,000 coronavirus cases.

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