What are your first concepts and insights regarding the impact the coronavirus pandemic is having on the gaming industry globally? What effects, learnings or trends have you identified so far in that sense?
The coronavirus pandemic has had a devastating impact for all aspects of society across the world. Italy, where Abbiati is based, knows very well this impact and the emergency that the world is experiencing because it is one of the countries most affected by Covid-19. The global gaming industry has been hit right across the supply chain. When the world lockdown started, all establishments where people gathered – including casinos – closed their doors to reduce the spread of the virus. This, in turn, impacted all associated businesses. Speaking about the trends, the crisis has not hit the online sector as heavily as many people find themselves confined to the home and unable to work.
On the positive side, we have seen many individuals and businesses rallying to provide support and assistance of various forms to the beleaguered health and emergency services.
What's your approach to this global crisis, in order to reduce damages and pave the way for the fastest possible recovery? What resources are you turning to?
At the beginning of this crisis, no one was prepared for an epidemic: the situation is new for everybody and for our industry as well. Being based in Turin, where the impact of coronavirus struck early and with terrible consequences, Abbiati has first and foremost sought to protect the health and safety of its workforce. All our employees and workers work in safe conditions with face shields and with a minimum distance of two meters. Some departments started to work from home in order to guarantee their family safety too.
What special measures or strategies is Abbiati taking as a company to protect/help employees, clients, etc., both in terms of health and financially? Are workforce reductions, temporary layoffs or slowed recruitment processes in your plans or consideration?
We have temporarily suspended manufacturing activity at our premises in Turin and have actively encouraged our commercial and administrative to remain at home but continue to operate through 'smart-working' via phone and PC. With an experienced and skilled workforce ready to spring back into action when permitted, we have no plans for reductions or layoffs. Our customers have remained very supportive during this difficult time and we have regular communications with them; they are in a similar position to ourselves, so they are fully aware of the situation. They also know that they can rely on us in every moment, as always: we remain responsive for news or information, and ready to provide products as soon as we can.
What are the main demands or concerns you've been receiving from your customers/partners since the outbreak?
We have to thank all our customers, partners and suppliers that, knowing the situation in Italy, ask about the health and safety of our Team and our families. It’s important to feel close to each other, even if only virtually, and to have the strength to make it through these challenging times together.
So, if we have to summarize the communications with customers and partners with one word, it will be humanitarian. We are all in danger and all our families and the people who we care about could be touched by this illness; so our first thoughts go to these people with whom work and business are the usual topics of conversation — now we are more interested to know if everyone remains safe.
How would you assess the existing resources, approach and measures taken by regulators, governments or other state institutions in Italy and the jurisdictions where you have operations?
Our primary operation is in Italy, with commercial support in a number of other territories. In general, the approach taken by regulators, governments and state institutions in jurisdictions that we supply appears to be fairly consistent and measured. Lockdown is the most common measure across all countries. No one was prepared for this scenario and the reaction had to be fast and incisive in order to save as many lives as possible.
What are in your opinion the possible scenarios this could bring for the land-based sector, and your company in particular, in the mid-long term?
We do not envisage a rapid return to the status quo that existed prior to the outbreak. The timing and speed of lifting restrictions of movement will vary across countries, and public/player response will be critical — will there be continued caution or the release of 'pent up' demand? Still, we are hopeful that we will all emerge from this period stronger, better equipped and more determined to successfully deal with whatever the future holds.