Each week, CasinoBeats breaks down the numbers behind some of the industry’s most interesting stories. In our latest edition we take a look at casino closures in both Australia and the UK, reopenings in Atlantic City and Kindred’s revenue expectations.
After being given the green-light to reopen by Governor Phil Murphy, Atlantic City casinos have subsequently began welcoming patrons back through their doors in recent days.
Permitted to resume operations from July 2, after more than 100 days of closure, the familiar sights and sounds returned, albeit with a series of heightened initiatives designed to ensure the safety of all involved.
Lauded as “a critical moment for our industry” by the Casino Association of New Jersey, not all properties have returned, however, with Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa deciding to remain closed given the impact the executive order will have on the experience they are accustomed to providing.
Researchers have compiled a blueprint for change that contains five key recommendations, after a new report found that an estimated 28 million personal current accounts in the UK do not have the option to block gambling expenditure.
GambleAware has published the findings of the new research, undertaken by researchers at the University of Bristol’s Personal Finance Research Centre to review the availability, uptake, and effectiveness of bank card gambling blockers.
Recommendations pinpointed include a call on the Financial Conduct Authority to recommend that gambling blocks are standard on debit and credit cards, as well as a recommendation that there is a cross-sector consumer awareness campaign that places bank card blockers alongside other forms of self-exclusion and player controls.
It also says that firms and regulators need to work with ‘experts by experience’ so they can design products, services and interventions for people who are negatively affected by gambling.
Casinos are “standing by” to aid the UK’s economic recovery, but must be allowed to resume the action again by the close of July maintains the Betting and Gaming Council.
Continuing to mount pressure on the government to reopen casinos this month, venues were dealt a blow after being told they would not be permitted to return to action when other parts of the hospitality, leisure and entertainment industry could do so on July 4.
Having been closed since March 23 as part of the national effort to contain the spread of COVID-19, a number of measures have since been implemented including perspex screens, hand sanitisers, sophisticated track and tracing systems and strict social distancing rules.
The latest plea comes as Chancellor Rishi Sunak announces that businesses in the hospitality and tourism sector are to benefit from a cut in VAT from 20 per cent to 5 per cent until January 12.
Australia’s largest casino, the Crown Melbourne, will not be reopening after Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews confirmed that the city of Melbourne was re-entering stage three lockdown for another six weeks.
The renewed lockdown will see residents barred from leaving their homes for any purpose other than work, food, exercise, or medical care. Furthermore, restaurants and cafes must return to takeaway and delivery services only with all other entertainment venues forced to shutdown operations.
In an announcement made on its official website, the property said: “In line with the Victorian Government’s reintroduction of stage three restrictions, Crown Resorts wishes to advise all our guests that Crown Melbourne will be temporarily closed from July 9 until further notice due to COVID-19.
“The closure of Crown Melbourne is to protect the health and safety of Crown patrons, employees and the broader community.”
Crown Melbourne had been closed since March 23 but reopened its in-person dining on June 1 as part of its phased reopening.
Kindred Group is anticipating a 3.89 per cent increase in gross revenue for the second quarter of the year despite a plethora of cancelled and postponed sporting events having a continued significant impact across the industry.
Publishing a trading update for the period, ahead of its interim Q2 report on July 24, the gambling operator estimates that revenue for the period will be approximately £235m, up from 2019’s £226.2m.
Underlying EBITDA for the quarter is predicted to reach a bracket of £48m-£53m (2019: £30.5m), driven by cost reduction actions undertaken in connection with marketing, content and other direct costs.
In spite of the protected short-term profitability, as sports resume the group is expecting the marketing cost model of the business to normalise.