SkyCity Entertainment Group has opened a new VIP machine gaming area as part of the Auckland centre’s $35 million property upgrade.

The area on the ninth level was previously a partially open deck and is at the top of the SkyCity Hotel Auckland and casino building on Victoria Street.

Chief operating officer Michael Ahearne says the new invitation-only zone, called ‘black’ was twice the size of the previous VIP machine gaming space.

“A previously little used open air balcony has been given a complete transformation to create a tactile, voluptuous and highly refined space. Black is open for SkyCity’s highest value customers,” said Ahearne.

The floor was previously accessed via stairs from level eight but chief executive Graeme Stephens said the extra floor space had been added on to the Federal Street side to create an entrance from existing lifts. VIPs could also get to Black directly from the basement car park.

The VIP gaming machine area was previously in a much smaller space on Level three.

One hundred and fifty gaming machines now have more space around them, better seating and bars and foodservice areas within the level nine VIP zone.

“This is business class, ” said Stephens of the new VIP area with its own reception area and glass roof where the Sky Tower is visible.

International VIP business is only 10 percent for Sky City Entertainment according to Stephens. “This level and the one below are for the local VIPs who are an important part of our domestic business.”

Down a corridor off ‘black’s’ main reception area are seven suites and private rooms for high rollers.

The $35million two-floor project was part of a wider $50million upgrade of SkyCity’s Auckland property which will also result in a new bar for the main casino floor and a new food court, both soon to open.

“We used the lockdown period to our advantage,” Stephens said.

The project was designed by Warren & Mahoney’s Andrew Barclay and Australian designers Lombard & Jack.

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