Spielautomaten mit Plexiglas-Schutzwänden

November 4, 2020

Coping with the crisis together

CEO blog dated November 4, 2020

Bars, restaurants, sports clubs, theaters and event organizers are really suffering during the current coronavirus crisis. Many have no idea how long they can carry on like this, and some have gone out of business – such as the traditional Hotel Ascot in Zurich, which closed its doors a few days ago after 27 years as a first-class hotel operator.

On October 28, the Federal Council tightened restrictions once again, in response to sharply rising case numbers. Restaurants must now close at 11.00 p.m, while bars and clubs remain closed altogether. Casinos, however, may stay open as normal, i.e. past 11.00 p.m. Restaurant owners are not happy about this and don’t understand it. It is, however, fairly straightforward:

The important thing is that the bar and restaurant in our casinos close at 11.00 p.m, after which only soft drinks are served. This is to prevent those in search of a good time from thinking they can continue their fun evening at the casino, once the bars close.

Moreover, the majority of our guests come alone or as a twosome. In all our casinos (Zurich, St. Gallen, Pfäffikon and Schaffhausen), masks are compulsory at all times, and the machines are separated by screens. Guests don’t move around more than is necessary and they wear a mask at all times. Our safety plan means we can guarantee high standards of safety: since reopening in June after the lockdown, there have been no cases of infection in our casinos.

We employ more than 600 staff. In 2019, we contributed CHF 77.9 million in casino tax to OASI. We support cultural organizations, sports associations and social institutions. The fact that we won’t be able to contribute as much this year must also be taken into account.

Requiring casinos to close at 11.00 p.m would not benefit the restaurant sector, but would result in the loss of substantial revenue and lower contributions to the public purse. We must all work toward the common goal of keeping as many businesses as possible in operation, while, at the same time, reducing case numbers.

In this way, we will have the means necessary in the future to support those sectors that have suffered most during the coronavirus crisis.

Marc Baumann