A casino technology supplier has criticised what it claims is a decision to press ahead in late July with a rescheduled version of Global Gaming Expo (G2E) Asia 2020 while the industry and the world economy are still feeling the effects of the global outbreak of coronavirus-related sickness.
In what it termed an open letter to the casino industry, United Kingdom-based TCS John Huxley Ltd said it had approached Reed Exhibitions, a co-organiser of G2E Asia, asking it to “reconsider” the revised dates and “defer the show until the fourth quarter or cancel it entirely”. The event – co-organised by the American Gaming Association – is due to be held at Cotai Expo at the Venetian Macao casino resort in Macau.
The letter added: “Unfortunately, these requests have fallen on deaf ears.” It then directly quoted Tristan Sjöberg, TCS John Huxley’s executive chairman, as saying: “To go ahead with the show under these circumstances is a ludicrous combination of sheer folly and corporate profiteering.”
GGRAsia has approached Reed Exhibitions China, the unit dealing with G2E Asia, seeking comment on TCS John Huxley’s open letter.
A decision announced by Reed Exhibitions in early March – to reschedule G2E Asia from May 19 to 21, to July 28 to 30 – was taken following the restart of casino operations in Macau, after a 15-day period of mandatory closure in February as ordered by the local authorities, as part of efforts there to stem the spread of the coronavirus.
Subsequent to the announcement of G2E Asia’s rescheduling to July, the further effects of the pandemic have led to market-wide temporary closures of casinos in key gaming jurisdictions in the Asia-Pacific region, including the Philippines, South Korea and Malaysia.
Casino markets across other parts of the world also have recently reported either total shutdowns of casino business, or much-reduced revenue amid travel restrictions and health checks on consumers arriving at venues due to the global disease alert.
At the time of the rescheduling announcement, a straw poll by GGRAsia of exhibiting firms had indicated qualified support for the new date, although even then some thought it too early.
On Tuesday another casino equipment supplier, United States-based TransAct Technologies Inc, said it planned to cut costs – including attendance at trade shows – “wherever possible”, in response to the economic effects of the pandemic.
Also on Tuesday another supplier – U.S.-based Everi Holdings Inc – said it had implemented “targeted furloughs and company-wide salary reductions” due to the business disruption caused by the coronavirus outbreak and its associated Covid-19 infection.
On Monday, Australia-listed slot machine maker Ainsworth Game Technology Ltd warned investors it expected the decline seen in casino-operator and consumer spend on gaming-machine product across its major markets – due to the coronavirus pandemic – to last for some months.
Ainsworth said it was implementing measures including “cost-reduction initiatives” to “mitigate the financial impact of Covid-19”.
TCS John Huxley said in its open letter that the late-July rearranged date was “far too close for any exhibitors to be able to think about taking part”.
The firm invited “other exhibitors and industry professionals to take a stand and advocate for the show to be moved to the end of the year at the earliest”.
TCS John Huxley stated: “To exhibit at a trade show takes months of painstaking meticulous preparation. With so many businesses in lockdown for indefinite periods along with global travel restrictions, it will take some time to re-establish normal working levels and the appetite to travel will be limited for many.”
The company added: “As we emerge from this crisis we will all need to pull together to support each other and our industry, but we need to ensure our decisions are also based on the safety, health and well-being of our customers and our employees.”
The letter further noted: “Having consulted with our customers, it is our firm belief that very few operators outside of Macau will want to, or be able to attend a show in July, even if it could go ahead at that time.”
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