Hundreds of staff at the quake-damaged Christchurch casino, who have been given the stark choice of taking redundancy or unpaid leave, were given a small ray of hope by Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee who indicated the business could reopen.

The casino has been closed since the deadly 6.3 magnitude February earthquake and it is uncertain when it may re-open.

More than 500 staff have received full pay since the earthquake last month at a cost of $410,000 per week.

Christchurch Casino chief executive Brett Anderson told employees in Christchurch today they had a choice of taking redundancy or leave without pay for the foreseeable future.

"This is extremely unfortunate, however the reality is we are a business.

"We hope, at least through this process, our staff have the power to make a choice over their own future and not have one made for them," said Mr Anderson.

However, Mr Brownlee today told TV3's The Nation the casino might be able to reopen somewhere else.

"I think one of the issues that we've got to discuss with the casino is whether or not they can reopen with their license in another location if it's possible, "he said.

Casino licences were geographically specific, but Mr Brownlee said the Earthquake Recovery Bill could give the flexibility for the premises to move.

All staff have been guaranteed payment up to April 5. Those staff who choose to take redundancy will receive their accrued leave plus entitlements in line with their employment agreements that equate to four weeks pay.

Service and Foodworkers Union spokesman Len Richards told Radio New Zealand the package should have provided staff with up to 18 weeks wages.

Mr Richards said that would be in line with redundancy entitlements at Sky City casinos, which owned 50 per cent of the Christchurch operation.

Mr Anderson said Christchurch Casino was unable to predict what staffing requirements would be needed at the time of re-opening; however, there were no guarantees that all staff would be re-employed immediately.

Staff had been asked to indicate their preferred position to Christchurch Casino by Monday.

"We are committed to staying in Christchurch's CBD and on our current site," said Mr Anderson.

"We want to rebuild our business over a period of time as the city starts to recover from the effects of the earthquake.".

Christchurch Casino remains in Zone 4 of the Civil Defence cordon and has a yellow sticker. Engineering inspections of the building have not identified any substantive damage to the premises or to property within it; some repair work will be needed before the casino can re-open.

- NZPA