By Lisa Waterfield, The LW Consulting, LLC
With the worst pandemic ever in our rear-view mirror, the gaming industry is on the road to a strong recovery. Vaccines have provided the well needed economic shot in the arm for Vegas, lifting mask restrictions and bringing capacity levels back to 100 percent. Tourism, bookings and gaming win hit the highest levels since February 2020.
Changes made during the early stages of the pandemic, resulted in a flurry of activity with several industry-changing outcomes. With casinos shut down in 2020, online casino play was accelerated together with the rollout of sports betting across North America. The pandemic forced traditional casino operators to embrace online gaming and sports betting in states where it has been legalized.
As states seek alternative revenue sources to offset significant declines in tax revenues, state leaders are becoming more receptive to legalized sports gambling across the country. Sports betting expands a casino’s player population, both online and within bricks-and-mortar locations. The popularity of sports betting and igaming will continue to climb, as will the revenues, especially as more states take steps to supplement their revenue streams by legalizing it online.
It is important for manufacturers to continue to evolve technology in the form of modern and modular platforms, as operators continue to evaluate their technical capabilities and efficiencies. It is crucial that platforms are well equipped to meet the changing demands of their customers and increased volumes.
The pandemic also induced digital adoption within casino operations by prioritizing safety for in-person guest experiences, streamlining operating procedures, and expanding contactless interactions. Cashless wagering, contactless payments and cashless slot markers are just some of the digital solutions that have been accelerated due to Covid. Casino operators have been focusing on high-tech/low-touch solutions using smartphones, and it is likely the surge of digital technologies will continue to improve efficiencies and the customer experience across bricks-and-mortar and online.
Las Vegas welcomes back trade shows this year, with NIGA being the first in July followed by G2E in October. Both shows are expected to be well attended with a focus on the expansion of sports betting and emerging technology. These are the first steps to putting some normality back in our lives with human social interaction, seeing our friends, colleagues and customers gathering in more than a year. These events mark great milestone in our road to recovery.
While the Covid-19 pandemic has been devastating to the gaming industry, through persistence as well as operational and technological advances, it has once again proven to be resilient by positioning itself to move beyond recovery as a leaner, more focused and more productive industry. While a full economic recovery could still take time, we are encouraged by early results that the gaming industry will bounce back stronger than ever.
...... Article originally published Casino Life Magazine June 2021 Issue 145 ......