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Covid-19 Impact in Casinos

Exclusive Survey By Arjan Korstjens

For some of us it was February, for most March, for some even later. From one day to another we had to close our doors, in some cases even chasing out our guests on the day of notice itself. The long waiting started and nobody knew how long it would take. Gradually, from May we started opening again. And not to my surprise we can see similar patterns. A lot of operators see their result in the first month of re-opening boom. For them that month is better than the same month the year before. Seems like a lot of people have been sitting on top of a gaming budget, spending it in the first moment they could. Then, again, the same happens: month two is worse, sometimes even 50% lower than last year. Month three things settle out again, back to normal. Let’s hope we can have some good months towards the end of the year.

So what did we have to do to make this come true, to comply to local Covid regulations? In a survey 40 operators gave us some answers. Participating operators came from Africa (sub-sahara), Latam and Europe (from UK to Bosnia, Sweden to Spain). Here are some of the answers:

Only about 1/3 had to switch of some Slot Machines. 62,5% can operate without switching off machines. Cleaning has been intensified with everybody, some ‘random’ based, some with a system. Suppliers of glass/plastic barriers did good business.


Again a lower number than expected: only one out of four had to close (some) tables. Most of us, 75%, had to reduce the number of guests per table. Some even had to reduce the number to 2 or 3 per table to comply with regulations. And 5 casinos had placed barriers on/around the tables.


In F&B the impact was the most severe. Although not our core business it is an important component of our service. Two operators stopped all F&B offering, four closed the restaurant and six closed the bar. That means that one in every four is seriously affected In the comments I read a lot that all self-service has stopped. From ordering at the bar to buffets: everything must go through a member of staff. One operator was happy with this change: they could stop giving out free food & drinks.

One out of four stopped all promotions, that is a lot. Stopping (undirected) large audience promotions and moving to target groups and player tracking segments is a positive effect of these Covid regulations. Also some of the operators continued the active promotion from before the lock down, not to disappoint guests.

Concluding it seems that we had to do a lot, but as we are very flexible in our operations we did well. The real heavy impact measures like switching off machines and shutting tables seem to be limited to a part of the operators. Reducing F&B services is a thing we will survive and when regulations become less strict they will gradually come back. What I do not understand is operators stopping all promotions. If there is a time when you need promotions to grow again it is now. Switching to segmented promotions with an offer that fits the target group should already be an integral part of your marketing strategy. Which groups did you lose, which ones came back and what did they do? Analyse! Where are your opportunities to find new guests/players, as I think we know one thing for sure: some of our old regular guests will not come back. This is the time for a new Marketing strategy.

In September I will repeat the Survey, going in to more detail on loss of revenue, guests groups and an inventory of ideas on how to get out of this. The full results and learnings are only available for those operators who participate. If you want to participate (and get a copy of the full report) drop me an e-mail at arjan@explayner.com


Bio: Arjan Korstjens – Consultant, Speaker & Trainer

Arjan Korstjens is a consultant, speaker and trainer in the international Casino industry. Working from his own company, Explayner, he helps casinos improving the result and effect of their Marketing in both the online and landbased world. He has worked for, amongst others, Holland Casino, SBM Casinos Monaco, Sun Monticello Chile, Partouche Casino Oostende, Casinos Austria Viage Brussels, Casinos del Sol Paraguay and Olympic Entertainment Group.

Arjan specialises in promotional strategies, Responsible Gaming on the casino floor and database marketing/loyalty programs. He is a course director for the Totally Gaming Academy and speaks and chairs at various conferences around the world.