hen asked about the pandemic and how it affected the industry, Sebastián Salat said that “the shutdown of gaming facilities and the reopening conditions, with capacity limits and intermittent closings, have had a negative impact on land-based operators as they have few or zero resources and huge structural expenses.”
“In this sense, Zitro is a solid company, with no debts, which has enabled us to do four things” —said the CEO, when analyzing the company’s internal situation. “First, we decided to prioritize the health conditions of our staff; second, we decided to support our clients in such a challenging moment; third, we continued implementing a plan for the development of new products to help operators recover as they are able to reopen their businesses; fourth, we intended to support and be there for our suppliers. These were our four priorities during such a challenging time."
As regards the changes that the company implemented and the way in which it expects to get through the crisis in the sector, Salat said that “even though each day is different and we have to analyze the implementation of changes and the reduction of expenses, we are convinced of the fact that humanity will get over this pandemic: we will leave this behind, and as soon as we return to normal, the gaming industry, which is extremely resilient and has always faced adversity, shall get back on track.”
“We are sure that we have excellent products that meet the requirements to be in any casino of the world. With commercial formulas that, certainly, will have to change, and taking into account that many operators have suffered very serious economic consequences, we, as suppliers, shall understand the needs of each customer and the reality of each buyer”, he added.
In relation to their digital offer, Salat said: “Even though we had not insisted on the idea of having a solid digital business, we were forced to think about it due to the pandemic. This segment, which until now was a supplementary business, has gained importance as a result of the pandemic and has become an opportunity and a pillar of our offer.”
“The development of our digital business is not detrimental to offline gaming, as we focus on developing new products, machines, and games; however, the pandemic has brought about a technological change, as the adoption of digital games by consumers has increased very quickly. Many old people have adopted this technology; thus, they incorporated e-commerce in their daily lives. The same happened with online gaming and digital gaming apps. Due to the lack of offline gaming, these modalities have become popular and, even though they cannot compensate for offline income, operating in both segments is important for the company.”
"The most interesting thing is that, during lockdown, many land-based casino operators have discovered that they needed an on-line gaming channel not as a source of income, but as a way to remain in contact with their clients while properties were closed. Just as restaurants had to include the delivery service, land-based casinos needed to ensure that their clients did not forget them. Thus, operators who have never thought about online gaming before and considered it minor, now appreciate its virtues."
“This is one of the positive consequences of the pandemic”, the CEO highlighted. “The pandemic has accelerated the technological change and we, as a company, must be part of it. Even though we used to consider online gaming a supplementary business, now it is an important pillar for the growth of our company and the industry.”
Finally, Salat talked about investments. “Upon reaching a relative normality, the sector and the operators will need a long time to recover from the pandemic. They had to face huge expenses; so we, as manufacturers, must offer flexible commercial formulas that enable them to postpone investment, take an interest in machines or rent them. We are convinced of the fact that it will take some time for the gaming industry to fully recover.”
“Fortunately, there will only be a place for attractive and engaging products in casinos worldwide. There won’t be a place for poor products. So, we understand that, after lockdown, when clients arrive to a casino, they cannot find obsolete products. Operators shall certainly renew their gaming offers so that clients don’t feel disappointed finding the same products available in March 2020. Therefore, in Zitro, we are working on new products. We believe that the best way to help operators is offering a competitive and attractive product, which, in commercial terms, is in line with the moment we are facing.”