COVID-19 Pandemic Pushes Casino Industry toward Innovations

Last year proved to be the most difficult year for many industries, including the gambling industry. Now, in 2021, gambling operators will need to continue thinking outside of the box and using innovative technologies to attract and retain customers.

The COVID-19 Pandemic Significantly Impacted the Gambling Industry

In 2020 the global COVID-19 pandemic impacted hundreds of thousands of businesses across the globe. From the U.S. to Europe, Australia to Asia, gambling operators have felt the pandemic’s impact that brought furloughs, temporary closures, layoffs, and significantly reduced gross gaming revenue (GGR). Although 2020 was probably the most difficult year so far, many gambling operators have made it through.

Now, in 2021, operators will need to find new ways to attract new customers while at the same time focus on delivering safe services. Since more people are receiving COVID-19 vaccines, once the pandemic fades away, the gambling industry will finally be able to start its recovery.

Integrated Resorts (IRs) represent an opportunity that will undoubtedly boost the economic recovery of many countries, including Japan. In fact, the whole Asian market has significant potential to continue to grow, despite the economic impact brought by the pandemic.

Innovative Products and Technology to Lead the Industry’s Recovery

In an interview for GGRAsia, Niall Murray, a chairman of Murray International said that 2020 “forced” the operators to “think, behave and operate dramatically differently“. According to him, many companies had no other option but to take an entirely different approach when it comes to how business is done as well as attracting and keeping their customers.

Mr. Murray added that in 2021 and beyond, IRs will start reaching their 2019 results and eventually surpass their revenue and targets in the coming quarters. However, he stressed that now it’s the time for the operators to “learn from 2020, and take a radically different, forward-looking approach to strategy and operational improvement”.

According to Mr. Murray, IRs will be able to succeed by introducing innovative products and embracing technology, resulting in “safer, cashless, convenient and more attractive” methods for service delivery. With that in mind, according to Debi Nutton, Wynn Las Vegas and Encore former vice president of casino operations, in 2021, digital solutions will become the norm.

Focusing on Japan once again, although the country has seen a few bumps along the road, including the resignation of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in August, it seems that the Japanese government is eager to complete the IR projects. In fact, last month, the country has finalized its Basic Policy for IRs. Consequently, last week, the Prefecture in Nagasaki revealed that it will launch its request for a proposal for an integrated resort on January 7. This RFP would make Nagasaki the third Prefecture to initiate the process, following Osaka and Wakayama.

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