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Gamblers at Christchurch Casino flocked back to the slot machines and poker tables as it reopened at noon on Thursday.
Chief executive Brett Anderson said there were tears and hugs among croupiers and regular customers talking about the big earthquake.
"People just wanted to be with people - it was better than sitting around and watching the walls shake," he said.
By 6am yesterday, after 16 hours, about 1200 people had passed through the casino, about normal for a Thursday night.
The casino building was sound but closed after last Saturday's quake.
At the time about 200 people were in the building. Sprinklers and burst pipes doused the floor in water.
Anderson said a pleasing aspect had been the decision during refurbishment to bolt poker machines to the floor.
This meant the 100kg machines could not fall on people.
Before reopening all equipment and balancing were checked by Department of Internal Affairs inspectors.
Anderson predicts a good turnout this weekend and strong Lotto sales.