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Insight


COVID-19 UPDATE - EUROPE European Casino Association


Per Jaldung, ECA Chairman


Pulling together: ECA assists members during Covid crisis


Hermann Pamminger, ECA Secretary General


The exchange among ECA members became really intense when the first casinos in Europe were allowed to reopen their doors. Questions abounded. How would guests react to the numerous hygiene measures? Which gambling products were now in demand and which were not? Had gambling habits and behaviour changed?


Supporting its members in coping with this unfolding crisis became the greatest challenge that the ECA had faced to date. In March, a board meeting to address the crisis was held via video conference. The discussion revealed that the timely exchange of information and experiences about planned and implemented measures would be key.


Supporting its members during the pandemic has been the greatest challenge the European Casino Association has ever faced. Chairman Per Jaldung and Secretary General, Hermann Pamminger, explain how the 900-strong European Casino Association has come together to address the challenges of the COVID-19 crisis


Back in March 2020, one European country after another went into lockdown to address the threat imposed by the spreading of the Coronavirus. Basically, every business that was not considered to be essential for daily life had to close down.


Among them, all land-based casino operations. Within a few weeks, the lights went out in all 900 licensed landbased casinos that are members of the European Casino Association (ECA). Over 70,000 casino employees were sent home. Not since WWII has such a massive closure of entertainment facilities taken place. Fortunately, the European nations quickly came up with programmes to assist businesses, keep people employed, and keep the economy afloat. Casino companies and casino employees were also able to benefit from these programmes. However, their extent varied greatly from country to country.


Casino employees and management were faced with completely new challenges for which there were no manuals or checklists. How do you ensure business continuity in a time without business? And how do you achieve this when the duration of the lockdown was unclear?


P40 NEWSWIRE / INTERACTIVE / MARKET DATA


Supporting its members in coping with this unfolding crisis became the greatest challenge that the ECA had faced to date. In March, a board meeting to address the crisis was held via video conference. Te discussion revealed that the timely exchange of information and experiences about planned and implemented measures would be key.


Te Board led by chairman Per Jaldung immediately put Secretary General Hermann Pamminger in charge of the association’s activity push. Mr. Pamminger, together with the ECA Communication Officer Susanna Brozzu, responded quickly by implementing chat groups to speed up the exchange of information among casino managers. Tis enabled them to quickly post questions, provide timely information about different developments and exchange local media reports. Minimising the risk of a permanent closure of casino operations became a top priority. However, it was also clear that the situation was becoming increasingly challenging for those land-based casinos that had already been struggling prior to the crisis.


To assist its members in overcoming the crisis, the ECA immediately initiated a bundle of measures. Tese included the introduction of internet-based


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