Surviving COVID-19: Malta and Manila react

Posted: Mar 25, 2020 15:20 Category: Asia , Europe , Posted by Maria Debrincat

How are two of the biggest gaming hubs in Europe and Asia reacting to this health crisis?

As the number of Covid-19 cases continues to increase globally, governments are unveiling packages of measures to help both businesses as well as individuals struggling to cope with the impact that it’s leaving.

Economic rescue package in Malta

Dr. Robert Abela, Prime Minister of Malta. Dr. Robert Abela, Prime Minister of Malta.

The Prime Minister of Malta, Robert Abela yesterday announced some measures that mainly address the sectors that have been hit the hardest, some of which include the entertainment and retail sector. For these sectors the government will be paying a full minimum wage to employees where full-timers will be given €800 while part-timers will be given €500. This measure will cost the government €44 million a month. In the case of self-employed, the government will be paying a total of 2 day’s salary and a day’s salary for each worker. These measures are for 3-month period, although he insists that there might be some adjustments along the way.

Abela said that the economic support given at these moments is being given from what he refers to as a ‘war chest’. ‘We are at war, a different kind of war than the traditional sense. Every country has a war chest – the funds available for use that they can use in the war to bring their country out from the pandemic. We have this war chest and we must be prudent in its division. We could have been populist and said that we would use the whole chest in the first set of measures, but we would have risked a moment where we would require more financial incentives but not have the funds to do so.’ His main aim is to keep businesses alive so they can recover fast once the crisis is over.

Support in the Philippines through financial aid packages

government 320x181 Rodrigo Duterte, President of the Philippines.

In the Philippines, The House Committee of the Whole, presided over by Congressman Martin Romualdez, voted in favor of declaring a national emergency and giving President Rodrigo Duterte broader leeway to deal with the crisis, but only “for a limited time and subject to restrictions,” GMA News reports. At Duterte’s request, the nation’s biggest companies are taking steps to help contain the lockdown’s economic toll. In the Philippines the Social Security System committed a US$23 million fund that would cover unemployment benefits for dislocated workers. The government also announced a US$528 million fund to assist various sectors in mitigating the impact of Covid-19. According to the Manila Times, the package includes initiatives to better equip health authorities to fight the Covid-19 and for relief and recovery efforts.

PAGCOR is giving its input in this global fight as well and has announced that the Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGOs) have donated P150 million worth of medical supplies and food as the country tries to contain coronavirus. PAGCOR has also released an additional PHP6bn (€109.4m) in funds to the country’s government to help support national efforts related to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

What does this mean for the iGaming industry?

Since the gaming industry is an industry that falls under the entertainment sector, which is a sector that is hugely affected, companies are doing their best to twist the situation around and strive for survival. With businesses doing their part and closing down all casinos, there was a drastic increase in services that are now being offered online by companies. ‘The impact of the COVID-19 has and will continue to take a toll on the global economy until it is contained. But not all markets are equally impacted, and the cloud services and content markets are a prime example,’ says Michael Inouye, Principal Analyst at ABI Research.

Popular casino businesses have all temporarily closed their casinos to follow the orders.  Sportsbooks are also experiencing difficulties during this time because many sports events are now either cancelled or postponed so many operators are now relying on online gaming as a means of acquiring their revenue. As an result of this the iGaming industry has recorded a spectacular boom. Players are seen are flocking to online servers as a means of distraction and entertainment.

Stay tuned for more coverage and updates on this health crisis.

About SiGMA Expo:

The iGaming summit SiGMA is setting its sights on Asia. Our ground breaking Asian iGaming expo will be held in Manila, on the 8th & 9th of June 2020. SiGMA’s largest venue to date will bring together high quality conferences and content, premium networking opportunities, and luxury networking event. 10,000 delegates from across Europe, the US, and Asia are expected to attend, making this one of the biggest shows to unite East and West in the region.  To become a part of the fastest paced Asian iGaming event, book a pass or sponsor & exhibit.

For those planning to attend SiGMA Manila, AIBC Manila and ICE Asia at SMX on June 8-9th, this is the buzzing business environment to be expected:

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