Industry Proceeds To respond To ‘Unprecedented’ Situation In COVID-19

Whilst the industry continues to update on COVID-19 guidelines, enhanced protection initiatives, big money contributions and corporate announcements have been demonstrated once again.

Despite a overwhelming majority of land-based institutions entering a temporary closure phase across the US, a lobbying group is calling for state and county health departments to shut down’ games of skill’ devices immediately.

Situation at gas stations, corner shops, pubs, clubs and bars throughout the Keystone State, Pennsylvanians Against Illegal Gambling is calling for the pause to be hit because of public health issues related to coronavirus spread.

The group is calling on the Health Department of Pennsylvania as well as county health departments across the Commonwealth to order business owners to shut down any machines operating at their establishments immediately.

Peter Shelly, spokesperson for Pennsylvanians Against Illegal Gambling said: “At a time in which Pennsylvania casinos have made the difficult but appropriate decision to shut down to protect the health of their patrons, employees, and the public, these machines continue to attract gamblers of all ages.

“You don’t have to be a health expert to know that the extended period of times in which players interact with these machines could accelerate the spread of coronavirus to some of our most vulnerable citizens.”

North of the border, Great Canadian Gaming Corporation board chair Peter Meredith has called for continued support given the significant global uncertainty felt by the rapid spread of COVID-19.

Having suspended operation across Canada at its 25 facilities, Great Canadian states that the effects of the emergency could be felt for some time.

“Under the strong leadership of Rod Baker, the company’s CEO, our caring, diligent and experienced management team is working with our Board to actively monitor the implications that COVID-19 has had- and may have- on the future of our business,” Meredith states.

“We would also like to acknowledge the incredible efforts that have been undertaken, and continue, across the company by our operating teams who have been working tirelessly throughout this period to ensure the health and safety of our team members and guests.

“This unprecedented situation has no playbook, but our team is well prepared and well-equipped, and making thoughtful decisions on a day-by-day or even hour-by-hour basis. We are making vital strategic and operating decisions to ensure that the company is in the best possible position to withstand the ongoing volatility.”

In the meantime, Loto-Québec has contributed CA$1 million to Québec’s Moisson food banks network, which will be spread among the 19 centres to assist them in their goal of supporting the most vulnerable. It follows the contributions already made by the crown corporation.

Back in the US and Churchill Down Incorporated have gained unconditional approval from the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission to reschedule the 146th Longines Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs Racetrack to September 4 and 5, 2020 respectively.

It involves authorising five extra race days to run from September 1-5 for Churchill Downs that will mimic many of the events usually held during the week of derby.

In addition, Governor Steve Sisolak of Nevada has announced the formation of the’ COVID-19 Response, Relief and Recovery Task Force,’ designed to help mobilise the private sector to assist in the ongoing efforts of state agencies and the Nevada Health Response Centre.

Heading up the force is Jim Murren, who this week, earlier than expected, vacated the position of CEO and President of MGM Resorts International to assist with the continuation of the company.

Sisolak’s initiative is aimed at solving a range of state-affected problems, including unemployment and securing continued medical supplies. Murren must first assemble a team of leaders to decide what’s required and how it can be spread throughout the state.

Entertainment Laboratories, who were alerted last week about the potential revocation of licences in Sweden, also received an update about how the outbreak could impact their operations in a range of jurisdictions.

Enlabs CEO and president George Ustinov explained: “In Lithuania, all public premises are closed, currently until March 27, a date that can be extended by government decision. In Lithuania, Enlabs operates twenty LBOs, which are thus closed. In Latvia, all LBOs and casinos are closed. Enlabs operates eleven LBOs in the country, which are thus closed.

“Also in Estonia, all LBOs and casinos are closed. Enlabs does not conduct any such business in Estonia. Enlabs has chosen not to lay off employees in the LBOs. Despite the shutdowns, all of them receive full pay. Other markets where Enlabs operates are not affected to a greater extent.

“The large number of cancelled and postponed sports events, leagues and tournaments all over the world results in reduced activity in our betting. In 2019, our LBOs accounted for six per cent of the group’s revenue and our online betting accounted for 24 per cent of the revenue.

“We believe that the negative impact on betting will continue until games in sports leagues and tournaments resume to a normal extent. Other products show increased activity. If this will fully compensate for the loss of revenue that occurs in betting, it is not possible to judge with certainty.”