EUROMAT is using its digital transformation to share insight and provide a shop window on its work and objectives. This week, the European trade association tackled the key issues facing the industry: online/offline, the state of the high street, cashless and Covid recovery.
The relationship between offline and online, the role of gaming and gambling in helping to rejuvenate the high street, cashless payments and the timetable for the removal of Covid restrictions were just four of the topics debated in Tuesday’s EUROMAT webinar entitled Reopening To Recovery Post Covid.
Chaired by EUROMAT President Jason Frost, the panel of industry experts, comprising Adam Hodges, director of AGC operator City Gaming, Andrei Frimescu, marketing and PR manager of Romania-based Game World, Javier Gutierrez Gomez, business development manager, Cocamatic Group and Eric Verstraeten, CEO Elaut, provided their insight to a series of topics, themes and questions posed by the online audience.
The parlous state of the high street and the future of retail post-pandemic is an issue impacting countries throughout Europe. Adam Hodges, who has been in the gaming industry for over 35-years and has 53 UK sites with further growth plans for 2021 and 2022, believes the future lies in bringing a variety of entertainment experiences to enhance the overall retail offering. He said: “The answer isn’t just to open more and more betting shops and AGCs. If you do the same you get the same. Instead, people want active things to do. We can see FECs opening up in smaller towns, but we need landlords and local authorities to work with the industry or they will end-up with empty venues.”
Jason Frost predicted the challenges facing the high street may result in opportunities for imaginative operators. He said: “The number of empty premises is going to bring rents down and one initiative that I’ve been championing is the creation of a new ‘under one roof’ gaming and gambling proposition. Rather than walk past an LBO, followed by an AGC and possibly a high street Bingo Club all on the same road, people would be able to participate in the full range of gambling activities located in one venue including the ability to register to play online terminals but with enhanced social responsibility measures by virtue of playing in a staffed venue. In many ways it would represent an entertainment centre for adults, appealing to the needs and demands of the consumer at the same time as making it easier for the regulator.”
Frost was pleased with the response to the webinar which is the first of three to be run by EUROMAT this year under the EGAS (European Gaming and Amusements Summit) brand. He explained: “Our original plan was to stage the European Gaming and Amusements Summit last May in Dublin, but when Covid forced us to postpone the in-person event we decided to move our presence into the digital space and stage a series of three webinars. When I became President, I wanted to make EUROMAT more accessible and more visible: the webinars help achieve this by placing us in a digital shop window and the response has been extremely positive.
“We had just one attendee drop out during the course of the hour which reflects extremely well on the quality of the content provided by our guest speakers. I would like to thank everyone for participating and Karen Cooke of Swan Events for organising EUROMAT’s transition from in-person to digital events. The next EGAS webinar will be with The Gaming Regulators European Forum and will take place in March, with dates to be confirmed.”
Reopening To Recovery Post Covid can be accessed here.