Newgioco Group has announced that it is to begin reopening physical webshop locations across the country after the national government relaxed some of its measures related to the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
Italy had been in a state of lockdown since 10 March, but after the government saw a continuous decline in deaths and new coronavirus cases, it lifted some of the restrictions that had been in place for more than 50 days from yesterday (4 May) as it entered phase two of its strategy.
This included allowing certain businesses to reopen, including those operating in the construction, manufacturing, wholesale and real estate sectors. Newgioco said the relaxed measures means that it is also able to reopen certain sites, with its webshops to recommence operations this week.
“This is an important economic commitment on the part of our company to share our responsibilities towards reopening the economy in countries where we operate,” Newgioco’s chief operating officer Alessandro Marcelli said. “We consider the role that our sales agents and retail vendors play as brand ambassadors to be fundamental.”
As part of the reopening process, Newgioco will implement a range of measures across its retail sites to ensure it is operating in line with the other measures that remain in place in Italy.
This includes distributing personal protection equipment (PPE) ‘utility stands’ to all of its webshops, so that both staff and customers will have access to antiseptic hand gel, face masks and gloves. Newgioco will provide this to webshops free-of-charge.
People who go outside in Italy are still required to wear a face mask, while social distancing measures also remain in place. In addition, people leaving their homes must complete an official ‘self-declaration’ form that includes personal details confirming their identity.
“We are living a pivotal moment; Covid-19 is likely to change our economic structure at all levels and within this new phase of complete uncertainty, the most fragile elements are specifically small businesses,” Marcelli said.
“This is why we are giving real help for the restart, not just promises. A restart that we believe will be gradual at first given the concern for preventing continuous spread of Covid-19 in our communities.”
Shortly after the lockdown was announced, Newgioco warned that it could have a negative impact on sports betting handle and revenue. The lockdown, which included closing all betting shops, arcades and bingo halls, had been due to last until 3 April, but was extended due to the amount of deaths and cases in Italy.
Last month, Newgioco followed up on this by reporting a drop in sports betting revenue in March, though this was mitigated in part by growth in other verticals. The business saw sales decline to $1.5m (£1.2m/€1.4m) for the period from 1 to 25 March, down 19.8% compared to the same period in February.
Also last month, Newgioco announced it had launched a new esports wagering service through its online gambling channel in Italy to help fill the void left by the cancellation of traditional sports events. Customers of Newgioco’s online operators through Multigioco can now bet on the outcome of a range of esports events.
However, despite Newgioco reopening certain locations, other operators are yet to set out their own plans. Playtech closed all of its Snaitech retail shops across Italy after the lockdown was announced, but has not yet said when they will reopen these locations.
Similarly, Agenzia Dogane Monopoli (ADM) opted to suspend retail lottery sales in Italy, including Sazka subsidiary LottoItalia’s 10e Lotto, Millionday and Lotto games, due to the outbreak, though all sales have resumed from 4 May.