ECA details the scale of the challenge facing European land-based casinos

The European Casino Association detailed the “devastating” effect of COVID-19 on the region’s gaming industry, saying the land-based casino industry has suffered the brunt of the impact.

Detailing the results of a member survey, the association says European casinos were closed on average 136 days in 2020, with the vast majority not having been able to accommodate customers in 2021 so far.

It is added that 70% of casinos in Europe remain closed with exceptions, such as Luxembourg, Spain and Monaco, having reopened in 2021 under specific restrictions, while the most affected casinos, such as in Sweden, have been closed. for a whole year. .

Other findings indicate that European land operators have seen their revenues fall by more than 50% in the past year and that the majority of ECA members do not have a clear timeline for the official reopening of their businesses. .

Employment in the sector is also expected to be seriously affected, with the 900 casinos of ECA members employing more than 70,000 before the pandemic, a figure expected to rise to 50,000.

“This is the deepest trough the European land-based casino industry has ever seen. The financial impact of the pandemic on the land-based casino industry has been extreme, and these figures show the economic realities of COVID-19 on the European land-based casino industry, ”said Per Jaldung, President of the ECA.

“Some casinos have closed permanently and many casino employees have lost their jobs. We are under no illusions that the industry may soon return to “business as usual”. We are, in fact, very far from the status quo ”.

Restricted hours of operation, maximum occupancy and amenity limitations, social distancing protocols, restricted gaming offerings, protective measures including plexiglass, masks and on-site testing are just a few of the barriers that l The land-based casino business is currently facing.

Country-to-country variations in restrictions and mandates have also been compounded by regional variations within national borders, with these restrictions seen as the next major challenge for the industry.

“Customers want to visit the casinos again,” added Hermann Pamminger, Secretary General of the ECA. “The easing and tightening of many bottlenecks in 2020 demonstrated the ability of the land sector to resume operations in a safe and responsible manner.

“Customer registration has enabled quick and convenient social distancing measures, and casinos have implemented comprehensive hygiene initiatives, far exceeding local requirements, ensuring our customers feel comfortable and safe. security.

“Our industry is part of the service and tourism sector in which we employ a large number of highly qualified and motivated people. The closures affected 130,000 direct and indirect employees, not only in our gaming facilities, but also in our restaurants and entertainment areas.

“Our employees cannot wait for the day business is back to normal and they can once again welcome guests to their casinos and entertainment venues, but our industry continues to need support to make this happen for an extremely long time. hard.”

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Joan J. Holland