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


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

What ’ s your view ?

@ ICE _ London
“ 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
Building an omnichannel future for European casinos