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.
MARK HORWOOD MANAGING DIRECTOR UDC
How will you look back on 2020?
As the most challenging year UDC has encountered. It’s the first time in forty years I’ve spent Easter sitting at home. UDC had a full order book going into the season, with a great range of equipment that wowed everyone in January. Then, the pandemic, a nightmare scenario engulfed the world and the UK entertainment and hospitality industries came to an abrupt halt.
What, if any, were your highlights of the year?
The highlight has been getting out and about once the initial lockdown was over. The fantastic reaction we received when visiting customers locations and seeing so many people enjoying their time at the seaside, even under the new conditions imposed for safety reasons.
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?
2020 has provided us with time to review our business and continue to adapt our offering to better fit the needs of our customers. We’ve continued to embrace technology and have been using Zoom and other tools for working online. British government help in the form of the furlough scheme has been invaluable too.
Covid, Brexit, The Gambling Review: what do you think will happen in 2021?
We’re hoping that the Covid-19 vaccine helps bring a return to normality before long with our industry able to operate close to normal as soon as possible. We’re gearing up for easter and summer, a bumper season would be the best of news for everyone. I have full confidence in BACTA to make sure it protects its members best interests for now and in the future.
If you had to pick a Hero(ine) of 2020 who would it be and who would be your folk devil?
Our heroes this year have been our loyal customers who continued to support UDC by purchasing and paying for equipment. We couldn’t have asked for more during this unprecedented time. In addition, BACTA have worked tirelessly to keep our industry in the sights of government, so that we aren’t forgotten with everything else going on.