ICE365_EUROPEAN-LANDBASED-REPORT_JULY2021 - Page 4

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Part 1 : Ron Goudsmit on the state of play for casinos today Building an omnichannel future for European casinos

RON GOUDSMIT ON THE STATE OF PLAY FOR CASINOS TODAY

The devastation wrought on brick-and-mortar gaming has significantly shaped the sector . Ron Goudsmit , one of the ‘ founding fathers ’ of the European Casino Association , believes a more expansive industry may emerge

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“ THIS IS THE DEEPEST trough the European land-based casino industry has ever experienced ,” European Casino Association ( ECA ) chair Per Jaldung said of 2020 .
It ’ s hard to disagree , after novel coronavirus ( Covid-19 ) forced operations to grind to a halt in 2020 . Over the year , 37 % of operating days were lost as a result of closures , and by April 2021 , 70 % of properties were still shuttered .
The average revenue decline among ECA members was 50 %. The industry ’ s pre-pandemic headcount numbered more than 70,000 ; post-pandemic , that has fallen to 50,000 . However , as vaccination programmes across the continent ramp up , and economies reopen , the challenge is now all about attracting customers back .
Ron Goudsmit , who chaired the
ECA between 2006 and 2015 , after helping establish the body in 2005 , believes that vaccinations are a start , if not a panacea .
“ Casinos have been closed most of the year , and vaccinations are one factor that will help bring up the guest numbers ,” he says . “ But then there are still various restrictions on capacity and limits on opening hours in a lot of places .
“ The fact they are reopening is great news , even if they have to take special measures , so this all helps . But we ’ re not there yet . If you look across the board , vaccinations are increasing , people are allowed to travel , so we ’ re on a good track .”
This means the short-term focus will be on preparing for reopening , to ensure all the rules , regulations and restrictions are properly implemented . Key to his , he says , will be to make sure
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