In a two-part series, Coinslot speaks to a range of stakeholders in the industry and asks them to share their views on what has been a roller-coaster of a ride. What started out as a year of huge promise turned suddenly after the emergence of Covid, lockdown, Brexit, economic recession and a gambling review – 2020 has changed the entire industry landscape. There’s optimism, anger, criticism, frustration, good news, bad news – an interesting Christmas read for all, with one notable exception. The folk devil of 2020 will be clear to all of you pretty early on, although the heroes of the year are drawn more widely from across the community.
PETER HANNIBAL CHIEF EXECUTIVE GAMBLING BUSINESS GROUP
Well if anyone had posed the question; can premise based businesses survive for the best part of 9 months hardly having opened their doors?
The response would have been ‘no chance’.
I know we are far from emerging from the other side of this yet, but I am amazed how resilient and adaptive our friends and colleagues in UK gambling industry are proving to be. Hats off to them!!
What, if any, were your highlights of the year?
These are a bit thin on the ground, but my over riding highlight is the one mentioned in the previous question. If this industry were to have an anthem right now it would be Chumbawamba’s “I get knocked down, and get up again, they’re never gonna keep me down!”
How have the events of 2020 changed your view on how you run your organisation, how we run our industry and how the various authorities run our country?
I would expect that everyone in business and Government has already looked back and rationalised why they (understandably at the time) didn’t have a ‘pandemic’ scenario in their disaster planning.
That will of course change. But there are many evaluations that the Westminster corridors of power can trigger on the back of this experience, such as the effectiveness and relevance of devolved governments at times like this, why some Government departments are far more supportive and empathic than others, and how critical, effective and reliable communication is at times of crisis.
Covid, Brexit, The Gambling Review: what do you think will happen in 2021?
It’s going to be a while before we can stop worrying about Covid, and on the back of that experience we are all going to be going about our lives differently.
How differently, only time will tell. The Gambling Review is unlikely to have any impact in 2021, I see this more as an outcome for 2022 although we have much to contribute to it during next year.
Brexit will no doubt continue to dominate the MSM during 2021 but for us, however I see minimal disruption compared to other sectors.
If you had to pick a Hero(ine) of 2020 who would it be and who would be your folk devil?
Kate Nicholls has been my stand out Heroine during this year. It feels that the Hospitality Sector has seen the raw end of every decision in every devolved Government throughout the Covid -19 pandemic, and on most occasions against the prevailing evidence. But what Kate has manged to do successfully is keep the Hospitality Sector in the headlines and on the lips of commentators. How successful she has been I guess we will never really know, but if effort and determination are any meaningful measures then she has been fabulous and sits right at the top of my list.
I am going to diplomatically refrain from identifying my ‘folk devils’ in the media.