AGA urges swift Government action as Evolution ups preventative measures

The American Gaming Association has warned that the US will suffer a $43.5bn shortfall in economic activity should casinos remain closed for the next eight weeks.

Coming as a number of land-based and online casino entities continue to provide updates amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the AGA’s president and CEO Bill Miller has released a statement on the economic toll the outbreak is having on the US casino gaming industry.

It’s estimated that 616,000 casino gaming employees are prevented from working because of the important health and safety decisions made by state governments, with 94 per cent of the US’ 465 commercial casinos, and three-in-four (76 per cent) of the country’s 524 tribal casinos, having shut their doors.

“The federal government must act swiftly and comprehensively to get America’s hospitality employees, and the small businesses that support them, back to work. Gaming employees, their families, and communities are bearing the brunt of this economic standstill and will continue to suffer if Congress and the administration don’t take immediate action,” Miller asserted.

“Gaming is an economic engine, employing millions of local residents, generating community investment through vital tax revenue, and supporting small businesses in communities all across the country.”

Evolution Gaming have also updated on its operations, maintaining that a strong demand for its products is continuing despite the current climate, however, extra precautionary measures have been introduced in its eight studio locations.

These include disinfection, distancing and separation of employees, temperature checks at studio entrances, increased cleaning, hand hygiene and other preventative activities.

The live casino specialists maintain the developments are being monitored closely, with the potential need to adjust studio capacity in the near future noted.

Martin Carlesund, CEO of Evolution Gaming, commented: ”It is a turbulent time and it is inevitable that COVID-19 also impacts our business, but all employees are now doing a hard and fantastic job. Calm and methodical with the right decisions every day, we are slowly moving forward. 

“We work in a precautionary manner and according to national guidelines to protect the health and safety of our employees. We have a strong financial position, and in the midst of all this, we experience a high demand for live casino. With the safety of our employees as priority, we are doing our utmost to continue delivering the market’s leading product”.

In Colombia health ministers have followed the lead of a number of global jurisdictions in ordering that places of public gatherings, including casinos, amusement parks and nightclubs, be closed for a little under a month. 

La Française des Jeux has also posted an update on initial estimates of the effect of COVID-19 on its business, reporting that it has activated its business continuity plan with an aim of ensuring the safest and best working conditions for employees.

Acknowledging the difficulty at forecasting potential impacts at the current time across its lottery, accounting for around 80 per cent of business, and sports betting, making up the remaining 20 per cent, segments, Stéphane Pallez, chairwoman and CEO of FDJ, commented: “Today we are facing an unprecedented and exceptional situation that requires the mobilisation of everyone and will weigh on our business for an indefinite period. 

“In that respect, the FDJ Group has very quickly organised itself to face this unprecedented health crisis in a responsible manner and limit the consequences on its employees, customers, retailers and shareholders, thanks to its resilience, responsiveness and the commitment of everyone at FDJ.”

Furthermore, Spinola Gaming is offering immediate support to operators in all parts of the world who are looking to switch their land-based lottery operation online in a very short timeframe, or those operators who are looking to keep players activated with high value jackpot products.

“We are ready and able to provide a quick and reliable solution that can immediately address the current unfortunate situation facing many in the industry,” explained Ade Repcenko, Spinola Gaming CEO

“These unprecedented times have highlighted how fragile certain business models can be, as more and more countries enforce lockdowns making traditional physical lottery ticket purchase no longer an option for players. 

“The need for National Lottery operators to make the shift and be available online in order to continue to reach their players is imperative. We are offering a way to quickly convert to an online operation, in order to keep players engaged and to continue to provide draws to their players, and most importantly continue to support the good causes that land-based charity lotteries contribute towards.”