Impact of the COVID-19 on the Gambling Business

Posted by Andrew Price
2WinPower Partner, owner of the gambling establishments network.
2020/07/29

The COVID-19 impact seems disastrous for some industries. For example, a lot of sports events were postponed or even cancelled. The result was devastating — several related spheres were also doomed and had to invent new ways to attract and engage customers.

The gambling industry was directly impacted by the total pandemic. The land-based establishments had to choose — either to shut down until everything returns to its normal pace or adapt to the current realities.

Impact of the COVID-19 on the gambling business

The experts from 2WinPower gathered detailed data on the changes in the gambling industry for the quarantine period. Let us have a closer look at how different casinos worked towards the new operational conditions during and after the influence of COVID-19.

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Survey Breakdown

For receiving the most genuine information, it was important to get first-hand data from the gambling companies themselves. Therefore, it was necessary to conduct a poll with detailed questions of the changes due to COVID-19 influence. The survey contained 8 questions and had 36 casino operators as participants. These were the entrepreneurs from 27 countries all over the world, starting with Europe (Greece, Netherlands, Finland, etc.) to Africa (Zimbabwe, SAR, Botswana, etc.), ending up with South America (Colombia).

The main aim of the poll was to find out what casinos did after they reopened. Some countries obliged operators to stick with the necessary changes while others had no impact on the gambling sphere. The first 5 questions were of multiple-choice nature, meaning operators could pick (or specify their own) variants that suited their operational process.

Impact on Slots

Option

Percentage

Answers

Completely switched off

36.11%

13

Changed to a social distancing layout

61.11%

22

Protective barriers between slots

61.11%

22

Slots cleaned after each session

75%

27

Slots switched off until cleaned

19.44%

7

No changes

0%

0

Specified variant

22.22%

8

It was a real surprise to find out that more than a third of all respondents did not launch their slot machines again. It meant that these casinos had no enough physical space to separate the equipment enough to comply with social distancing. At the same time, 2/3 of the surveyed operators changed their layout to stick to the regulations implied by social distancing.

Some casinos even supplied their cleaning departments with notification systems. When a client stopped playing, the slot alerted about the necessity to be sanitized before the next player could start betting. Among other specified variants, the most popular one was an hourly cleaning schedule.

Impact on Tables

Option

Percentage

Answers

Allowed fewer guests per table

71.43%

25

Changed table floor layout

20%

7

Closed table games

28.57%

10

Allowed less staff per table

5.71%

2

No tables were available

2.86%

1

No changes

2.86%

1

Specified variant

37.14%

13

Not all respondents have table games. However, the majority gave their answers to the implemented changes. The most surprising conclusion from this question was that a considerable percentage of casinos did not limit the number of guests per table (almost 30%). It is quite vivid why so few managed to change the floor layout in comparison to slots (tables are much bigger and heavier). Among other specified variants, the most popular were:

  • maximum of 3 guests per table;
  • maximum of 6 guests on AR, 5 on card tables;
  • fewer chairs;
  • barriers on tables.

Impact on Food and Beverages

Option

Percentage

Answers

Restaurants shut down

11.11%

4

Reduced capacity in restaurants

63.89%

23

Bar shut down

13.89%

5

Waitress service only

33.33%

12

No waitress service

5.56%

2

Stopped all F&B

5.56%

2

No changes

8.33%

3

Specified variant

36.11%

13

The most common preventative measure for those establishments who had a restaurant was reducing the number of guests. However, some casinos decided to act really harsh and closed restaurants and bars. Moreover, some stopped all F&B services completely.

Among other specified variants the most popular were:

  • served buffet (no self-services);
  • drinks in disposable cups;
  • no bar after midnight.

Impact on Promotions

Option

Percentage

Answers

Stopped all promotions

25%

9

Stopped only large audience promotions

47.22%

17

Limited to only targeted promotions

22.22%

8

Only loyalty promotions

30.56%

11

No changes

11.11%

4

Specified variant

25%

9

Probably the most surprising fact of the entire survey was that 25% of all respondents completely seized their advertising campaigns. Most loyalty programs involved player tracking tools that seemed the best option for the post-quarantine period.

Quite a few options were added personally as specified variants:

  • no more free premium drinks;
  • no more free premium food;
  • no promotions in June, back to a normal schedule in July;
  • promotions focused on new guests;
  • upkeep promotional schedule to encourage regular clients.

General Consequences

Option

Percentage

Answers

Reduced opening hours

55.56%

20

Allowed a limited number of guests

69.44%

25

Regular players only

2.78%

1

Staff necessarily wears masks

83.33%

30

Guests necessarily wear masks

63.89%

23

Specified variant

16.67%

6

Most casinos work on a 24/7 schedule. However, more than half of the respondents mentioned they reduced the opening time by at least 3 hours to have enough time to clean everything thoroughly. Even though they did not have to close, they decided to do it, caring about their clients’ health.

Some casinos also had to face an interesting moral dilemma. Since some countries obliged gambling establishments to limit the number of guests, there had to be a choice made — allow those who come first or regular guests only. As we can see from the poll, only a single casino resorted to the second variant.

Among other specified variants, some casinos mentioned that even though governmental regulations asked for 200 guests maximum, they never had so many simultaneously.

Reopening Inquiries

Apart from multiple-choice questions, there were a few other Yes/No inquiries concerning urgent issues of gambling sphere:

Question

Answers

Do you have a player tracking (loyalty) program?

Yes – 32

No – 4

Do guests have to register before entering?

Yes – 24

No – 12

When are you planning to open again?

May – 7

June – 17

July – 11

Considering a steady recovery, some casinos already mentioned that their May and June GGR was better in comparison to the same period in 2019. It underlines a high demand for gambling entertainment among players.

Revitalizing After the Pandemic Lockdown

Revitalizing after the pandemic lockdown

One of the main aspects of any business is to never give up after a failure. The COVID-19 pandemic became a reason for numerous failures for several thousand business projects. Instead of thinking about bankruptcy and lack of financial resources, it is highly advisable to work towards adapting to the current situation.

Some gambling operators did a great job changing their business in the direction of modern world development.

Some of the most helpful adapting moves were:

  • changing the layout of the gambling hall to comply with social distancing regulations;
  • reducing working hours to conduct a lengthy and meticulous cleanup every day;
  • limiting the usage of restaurants, bars, and buffets if those used to be available near gambling areas;
  • adapting the advertising campaign to ensure all clients receive timely and relevant information on the events in their favourite gambling establishment.

It is all about how devoted an operator is to the gambling business. There is always a way out even of the most devastating situation. If you think you found yourself in one of them, do not hesitate to resort to 2WinPower — our proficient experts will ensure you receive timely and high-quality assistance in resuming your operation as well as beginning everything from scratch (if you are planning to start a gambling business). Just reach our support team members for any additional information.

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