Covid pressures continue into 2022 for ECA members

| By Laura Gumbrell
The European Casino Association has released details of its latest member survey, which tracks the impact of Covid-19 measures recently introduced by European governments.

On average, European casinos faced 150 days of closure in 2021. Most countries currently allow casinos to open, with the exception of Holland and Denmark, however curfews are widespread, consequently restricting the operating hours and restricting the F&B offer to partial guest services.

The ECA survey reveals that Hungary experienced the lowest number of enforced days of closure in 2021, with a total of 54, whilst France experienced the highest number with metropolitan areas closed for 199 days.

For over 95% of European casinos, proof of vaccination and a negative lateral-flow test is now needed for admission into casinos.
Social distancing requirements for guests vary from keeping a distance of 1 meter, in Sweden, to 15 square meters in Poland. Every adjacent slot machine is made unavailable for play, effectively halving the slot offer for most properties.

Additionally, masks are required throughout venues in over 95% of the casinos in Europe.

Per Jaldung, chairman of the ECA commented: “Closures, curbs and curfews continue to disrupt the normal flow of operations for ECA members into 2022. While the majority of casinos in Europe are open for business, the restrictions on opening times, the reduction of the gaming and F&B offer, plus further guest and staff requirements continue to put enormous pressures on the business.

“Government help and support needs to continue into 2022 as ECA members battle to keep their locations open to provide entertainment, employment and tax revenues, as they play an essential role within the international tourism and leisure industry.”

Employee testing and strict hygiene protocols continue to be observed by all casinos with the consumption of drinks and food prohibited from gaming areas across many locations. Curfews are in place for many jurisdictions still, where closing times of 10-11pm are mandated upon casinos by authorities in most countries.

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