Coronavirus effect: online gaming grows and retail collapses, Awps at -22%
With the restrictions imposed by the government to stop the Covid-19 epidemic, the collection of physical gaming collapses, but online gaming increases. GiocoNews.it data
The coronavirus emergency and the consequent restrictive measures issued by the Italian government are compromising the collection of physical gaming and, in particular, that of the devices segment. With the entire segment (therefore, considered as the sum of Awps and Vlts), which in the first week of March 2020 recorded a “minus” 33.3 percent compared to the previous year. And this should only be the beginning of a much broader decline, taking into account that in the first eight days of the month to which the estimate of the collection refers, only gaming venues in Lombardia had been completely blocked, while starting from this week the interruption is valid throughout the national territory, with the total closure of slots and vlts rooms, betting and bingo rooms. While in public places, where we can continue to play with slots and to bet (through authorized venues), while following the appropriate recommendations on how to frequent the venues, we will still not be able to go beyond 6am, when the venues will have to close.
THE CRISIS OF RETAIL – A very critical situation for the retail gaming sector, which has direct effects on the entire supply chain: from the concessionaire to the operators, passing through the managers, of course. Specifically, according to GiocoNews.it surveys carried out on the various concessionaires, the Awps collection in the first week of March decreased by about 22 percent, after that in February it had recorded a drop of 3.5 percent on the previous year and of 1.2 percent in January. Thus making obvious a negative trend, because due to the various measures introduced by the various national and regional laws (and, in particular, by the increase in taxation), which was then further aggravated by the measures to contain the epidemic. An even more accentuated phenomenon in the video lotteries segment where, as is known, the crisis of collection was already very pronounced already at the beginning of the year, due to the depressive effect due to the introduction of the health card for the activation of the gaming terminals, which now becomes particularly critical with the new restrictions to the venues. From -19.6 percent in January 2020, the collection of Vlts dropped by -20.9 percent in February and then dropped to -33.3 percent in the first eight days of March. It then collapsed further in the coming days, when the decrease will even exceed 75 percent.
BOOM OF ONLINE – However, different is the trend of the online gaming, which is in unavoidable contrast with that of the physical one. Between isolations, quarantines and simple precautions, as of February 2020 there had been a surge in spending on casino games with a 27 percent increase compared to the previous year. A significantly higher figure compared to the last quarter of 2019, when the growth had been 15 percent and even higher than the annual average which had been 17 percent over 2018. Also in January, the growth recorded by the casino games segment had been of 14 percent, then almost doubled in the following month.
If the epidemic is compromising the activity of public gaming operators on the whole national territory, then the same cannot be said for online gaming, quite the contrary. With an even more significant increase that is expected to arrive in March, with the forced closure at home on the whole national territory, which will shift the habits of Italians more and more towards the virtual.