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.
PAOLO SIDOLI MANAGING DIRECTOR SB MACHINES
How will you look back on 2020?
Astonished at how a virus brought the world to its knees. Astonished at how badly this government has handled the pandemic – DESPITE having had plenty of warning signals to be prepared so that the death rate and the huge economic impact could be mitigated. (It is predicted that UK will have the worst decline in GDP in 2020/2021 of all the G7 nations)
Astonished at how these politicians, the ruling class, are still in a job and have not been held accountable for their actions.
Astonished at the huge amount of money the treasury has thrown at the economy. A money tree therefore does exist?
And finally, astonished at how badly the govt has handled the UK’s exit of the European Union.
What, if any, were your highlights of the year?
Donald Trump’s press briefings. Hilarious. People voted for this man? Another leader out of his depth..
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?
Our business has been hugely impacted and it has made me realise not take everything for granted.
I will reflect on 2020 and endeavour to focus on two key elements of my business: to provide exceptional products with exceptional after-sales service in order to give my company a competitive advantage and an even more compelling reason for customers to choose our company and put faith in us.
Our industry is well run with a good moral and social glue holding it together. Again, operators, large and small will improve and evolve their entertainment offerings to the public.
This will be coupled with superior levels of service which will set their venues apart from other destinations that may not be directly related to coin op (eg. Out of town shopping centres).
Covid, Brexit, The Gambling Review: what do you think will happen in 2021?
I think we can all see a way out of Covid – a gradual lifting of restrictions, the vaccines kicking in, the virus burning itself out but not totally, the longer days, the better weather and hopefully some level of normality by the Summer and beyond.
Our sector, I feel, will also be buoyed by the ‘staycation’ phenomenon which will remain prevalent.
However, I wish I could say the same about Brexit. I do not see any positives here. If there are, I want someone to explain what good will come out of this for the country and I want this person to substantiate everything with true and reliable facts.
A ‘deal’ in whatever guise it is, is the best we can hope for and it still will not look good. The disruption to business and increased costs have been well documented in the quality press and from institutions such as the CBI, Bank of England, Farmers Union.
There is nothing good about Brexit now, for the remainers or the leavers.
If you had to pick a Hero(ine) of 2020 who would it be and who would be your folk devil?
There are many, but Bacta has tirelessly fought for our corner with dignified and measured arguments and has lobbied accordingly. Bacta has kept us informed of the ever changing and indecisive policies of the UK government in particular
Folk devil – Clear winner here – BJ himself… in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king…