As members of the European Council meet to discuss a unified containment exit strategy, Euromat has called on regulators across the continent to better support gambling operators affected by the Coronavirus crisis.
Euromat has hailed a video conference between European Council member states designed to outline an exit plan from Coronavirus restrictions as “good news for everybody.” President of the European Gaming and Amusement Federation, Jason Frost, noted the discussions were a positive start, however industry must be involved in the ongoing strategy.
“From the very beginning, our members’ first priority has been the safety of staff and customers and this remains the case,” said Frost. “Any decision to start loosening restrictions has be based on a careful assessment of the public health risk.”
“In the meantime we are asking that the dialogue between our industry and national authorities about the feasibility of reopening starts now. Through enhanced hygiene measures, managed capacity, staff training, information for customers, etc. we are able to do a lot to ensure safe operations that comply with social distancing.” The video conference between EC member states took place on 23 April, with national representatives endorsing the Commission’s roadmap setting out an exit from containment measures.
Though the proposals outline a consistent governmental approach to procedure, Frost stated that regulators concerned with street gambling businesses are far from providing a unified and supportive network for operators.
“While venues remain closed, support is urgently needed for our members. Across Europe I have seen authorities swiftly introduce liquidity schemes, tax relief and employment support, which are absolutely indispensable right now; however, we have seen a mixed response from gambling regulators.”
“I think it is right that they should take some sensible steps to help regulated companies by relaxing rules on payments associated with licence fees and look to avoid short-term legal changes which would entail a compliance cost for business.”
Euromat called on European licensing bodies to allow operators to recoup licence fees for the period of machine inactivity, extend prepaid licenses by the length of time of disruption, and defer payment for pending fees.
The federation also urged regulators to delay compliance deadlines for regulatory changes due to take effect within the next six months, and extend deadlines for any gambling-related policy consultations at the national level.