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ECA Says European Casino Revenues Down 50%

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ECA Says European Casino Revenues Down 50%
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The European Casino Association (ECA) has said that the European land-based casino sector has been hard hit by the pandemic.

ECA this week released statistics that show a devastating year for the bricks-and-mortar gambling industry through a poll of members.

The European casino industry was closed for an average of 136 days in 2020 and most operators have been closed for the first quarter of 2021. Seventy percent of casinos are currently shut down, with some exceptions this year, including Luxembourg, Spain and Monaco, but with restrictions.

The industry lost an average of over 37% of normal operating days last year and revenues have fallen by over 50%. The majority of ECA members do not have a clear schedule for the official reopening in 2021. Before the pandemic members employed 70,000 staff in their 900 casinos, an employment number that is likely to fall to 50,000 when reopening is allowed.

ECA chairman Per Jaldung said: “This is the deepest trough the European land-based casino industry has ever experienced. The financial impact of the pandemic on the land-based casino sector has been extreme and these numbers show the economic realities of Covid-19 on the European land-based casino sector.

“Some casinos have closed permanently and many casino employees have lost their jobs. We are under no illusion that the industry can return to ‘business as usual’ any time soon. We are, as a matter of fact, very far from business as usual.”

Restricted opening hours, maximum occupancy and amenity limitations, social distancing protocols, restricted gaming offers, protective measures including plexiglass, masks and on-site testing are just some of the hurdles that the land-based casino business is currently facing.

Country to country variations in the restrictions and mandates have also been compounded by regional variations within national borders. These restrictions are the next major challenge for a sector that the pandemic has hit the hardest.

ECA secretary-general Hermann Pamminger said: “Guests want to visit casinos again. The relaxation and tightening of numerous lockdowns in 2020 demonstrated the ability of the land-based sector to safely and responsibly return to business.

“Guest registration has enabled quick and practical social distancing measures and casinos have implemented comprehensive hygiene initiatives, far exceeding local requirements, ensuring that our guests feel comfortable and safe.

“Our industry is part of the service and tourism sector in which we employ a large number of highly trained and motivated people. The closures affected 130,000 direct and indirect employees, not only across our gambling facilities but also in our restaurant and entertainment areas.

“Our employees cannot wait for the day business is back to normal and they can once again welcome guests to their casino and entertainment venues, but our industry continues to need support to achieve this during an extraordinarily challenging period.”

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Betsoft Gaming Signs Partnership Deal with Simsino

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Betsoft Gaming has signed a partnership deal with Simsino, iGG’s newly launched casino brand.

The MGA licenced casino – simsino.com – will host Betsoft’s portfolio of table games and award-winning slots. Latest releases Alkemor’s Elements and the anime themed Kensei Blades, alongside classic hits The Slotfather and Weekend in Vegas are already available to play.

In order to further enhance gameplay, Betsoft launched its first promotional product, Take the Prize, earlier this year. The promotional tool will significantly add to the overall player experience by offering a random fortune wheel with cash prizes or bonuses in any of Betsoft’s qualifying games throughout any promotion.

Simsino has been designed to appeal to a younger player base looking for exciting promotions and fast, immersive gameplay. A generous Welcome Bonus and a unique “Simsino Cashback” feature are available as part of the Simsino loyalty programme. Furthermore, the easy-to-navigate site offers a streamlined user experience to take players straight to the games and promotions they want.

Anna Mackney, Head of Account Management at Betsoft Gaming, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Simsino as they are a young and innovative brand. Betsoft has a diverse portfolio which appeals across many demographics and we anticipate a successful relationship with Simsino.”

John Foster, Head of Games & Aggregation Manager, iGG WhiteLabels, said: “Great content is a significant driver of customer traffic and so a provider of Betsoft’s calibre is essential for simsino.com and other iGG WhiteLabels. We look forward to seeing this partnership enhance players’ engagement with the brand.”

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Entain Appoints Rahul Welde as Independent Non-Executive Director

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Entain plc, the leading global sports betting, gaming and interactive entertainment group, announced the appointment of Rahul Welde as an independent Non-Executive Director. The appointment will take effect from 1 July 2022.

Rahul was most recently Executive Vice President of Global Digital Transformation at Unilever plc where he drove digital strategies for the Unilever brands. He is an Indian national and brings over 30 years’ experience in the global fast-moving consumer goods sector. On appointment, Rahul will become a member of the ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) Committee.

“On behalf of the Board, I am delighted to welcome Rahul to Entain. Rahul brings with him exceptional knowledge of customer experience excellence, ecommerce and digital transformation. I am confident that his skills and expertise will further enhance the Board’s ability to support and oversee the delivery of our strategy,” Barry Gibson, Chairman of Entain, said.

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EM Group Joins Dutch Online Gambling Association

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The Dutch Online Gambling Association (NOGA) has welcomed EM Group as the newest member of the trade association.

The move comes as NOGA works to unite industry figures “under one flag” and to represent the industry’s collective interests as a whole.

The organisation has laid out some of its primary objectives, with two major goals being guarantees of consumer protection and the advocation of responsible gambling. NOGA hopes to achieve these through forging new partnerships and alliances with other key industry figures.

NOGA Director Peter-Paul de Goeij says the partnership has given NOGA a major boost, and that “EM Group also endorses NOGA’s core values ​​and objectives, and helps to achieve and defend them.”

He went on to describe how EM Group’s 15 years of international experience “is a great added value for us, and it also offers a wealth of additional expertise and experience that can only benefit the members of NOGA and the wider industry.”

EM Group MD Kees-Jan Avis said: “From EM Group we are very pleased to be part of the NOGA family.”

In describing NOGA and EM Group’s common goals, he said: “Think, for example, of the objectives and core values ​​with regard to the integrity and social responsibility of the sector.

“NOGA also endorses this and that is why we enter into the collaboration with great conviction and confidence. Our goal is to make a joint contribution to the online gambling market in the Netherlands and beyond.”

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