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An abnormal period - a unified Covid-19 response


variable. "We welcomed most of the key customers in Manchester on opening night," states Mr. Scholarios, "but that means nothing if we don't attract them back on a regular basis.


“We need to make customers comfortable and ensure that we're not attempting to take competitors on head-to-head in terms of offers. We need to establish a sustainable long-term business. Having the operation working optimally is our prime focus, while the other challenge to be addressed is the Covid-19 operating hours restrictions,” concludes Mr. Scholarios.


Te new Napoleons Manchester faces not only the challenge of establishing itself in a crowded and competitive city centre environment, but all the threats to its business that Covid-19 is currently presenting to the land-based retail sector. It's a daunting prospect that Mr. Scholarios addresses directly: "No matter how well run, or popular, or well established, or new and shiny an operation may be, the 10pm curfew renders the situation unsustainable. As per the British Gaming Council’s entreaties to government, it is not possible to simply remove 70 per cent of income and maintain 100 per cent of the cost base."


"We fully appreciate that casinos are not deserving of special consideration, but they do have an important role to play in society, which is to provide a home for gaming in the most transparent and most fully regulated of environments in the UK. Were the land-based casinos to be wiped from the high streets, not only would we lose the club communities, along with the entertainment value of a great evening out, but gaming would be displaced


and driven into less secure environments, with little or no protection for consumers, whether vulnerable or not.


"As regards Covid, the land-based industry, as


ever, has committed to, and is implementing, the most stringent protections and protocols. We have offered to close all of our restaurants and bars at 10pm so that we can continue with our gaming offer and complementary soft drinks only. Instead, we have had to turn our players out into the crowded streets and cars and homes, with regulation and control an almost impossible task for the authorities.


“Te 10pm casino curfew serves neither the public, who need to be protected from a dangerous pandemic, nor operators, who are seeking to provide a highly regulated service, and to simply survive.


"Whatever transpires, we shall remain optimistic and try to work towards a better future for us all, not just casinos,” comments Mr. Scholarios.


NEWSWIRE / INTERACTIVE / MARKET DATA P55


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