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The difficult process of assessing the damage now began. Fortunately, most of the casino equipment was still intact (and working), and the structural engineers and architects pro- nounced the Gran Casino Los Angeles build- ing to be 100 % safe and usable.

But with aftershocks still felt almost every day and an indefinite government curfew in place at night, there was no sense in reopen- ing the casino. The Board agreed that staff had suffered enough from the devastating earthquake and that they would remain on full pay during the forced closure. After six days, we provided a few hours of special training each day (procedures, table games, customer care, etc.) and encouraged staff to help one another in the aftermath. After two weeks, we gave most staff – with the exception of security and surveillance staff – special leave until the curfew was lifted. Apart from rumors, we had no idea when this would be – and when the announcement finally came unexpectedly on Wednesday 24 March, we all breathed a sigh of relief.

After brief consideration, I decided to reopen Gran Casino Los Angeles on Friday 26 March.

Customers were informed about the devel- opments through mailings, our website and signage in front of the entrance. Chips with a total value of around CLP 11 million and 48 slot cards had been in play at the time the earthquake struck. With the help of our CCTV footage, we were able to accurately deter- mine who these slot cards belonged to and who had had to leave their chips on the tables when the casino was evacuated.

This allowed us to keep our promise and re- turn everything to our customers after we reopened – prompting a lot of very positive feedback and praise for our professional ap- proach, calm support and efficient evacua- tion proceedings on that terrible night.

Gabor Bellak General Manager, Gran Casino Los Angeles

Gabor Bellak

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