Brussels, 21 April 2020 – The European Casino Association commits to supporting its members from the licensed land-based casino industry in their response to the COVID-19 crisis, and reaffirms the necessity to fight the illegal online gambling industry that operates in EU Member States without the necessary national gambling licenses.
The licensed land-based casino industry is, like many other sectors, heavily impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak, which has obliged all casinos in Europe to close down their operations, thus affecting some 130,000 direct and indirect employees of this industry. The ECA is closely monitoring the development of the situation both at national and European level in order to best support its members.
Per Jaldung, ECA Chairman, states: “In these challenging times, it is extremely important to team up and join forces to face the economic and social crisis that is happening in all sectors, while at the same time listening to our members’ concerns. The safety, health and wellbeing of our employees is of utmost importance and sharing best practices across Europe will help us to face this crisis together and define next steps to gradually return to some form of normality.”
Hermann Pamminger, newly appointed Secretary General of the ECA, comments: “In a matter of weeks, the licensed European casinos went from thriving entertainment venues and leading tourism centres to a complete standstill. The current closure of the 900 ECA member casinos will have an alarming economic effect on the communities in the 30 European countries in which our members operate their casinos. It is our clear duty to inform EU institutions and national governments about the impact of the illegal online gambling operations that are now targeting consumers locked down at home, while the licensed landbased casino industry is at a standstill.”
Illegal, non-licensed online gambling is thriving in these uncertain times, and it is now even more crucial than ever before that the European Commission and the national governments stand up against it to protect consumers. It is the responsibility of all stakeholders in the gambling sector to collaborate and ensure that high standards of responsible gambling also apply in this crisis.
The ECA wishes everybody good health and is confident that the situation will soon return to normality. The licensed casino industry was an important contributor to society in all European countries. Once this crisis is over, the ECA members are committed to working with EU institutions and national governments to re-establish a strong and healthy entertainment and hospitality sector.