While there is a veritable treasure trove of literary pieces on surviving tough times and adversity, there is no manual that addresses an entire industry closing nationally with 3 days’ notice and then surviving and planning for a reopening date that is fluid based on national and international events…. but here we are. As a company with many stakeholders, our customers are vitally important to us, not least because of our long association in the NSW and broader Australian market. We decided in the days after closing that these long associations were vitally important, and as a result the company decided to make some immediate decisions to help venues financially in this dire period. This included the following:
- Service fees halted during the COVID period with one-month free service for all pre-existing service contracts once venues could re-open
- System support fees ceased during this period even though support was still available, and the Systems team continued to do system upgrades
- Fees on Access were stopped for the period and would not commence until after markets were reopened.
While NZ saw the first openings of Pubs and Clubs in mid-May, the real test came on June 1 with the opening of over 2,000 venues in NSW. Aristocrat used the period from late March to June 1st working with venues and providing them with insights and analysis capacity under the ‘Our Resources and Your Resources’ initiative that focused on improving venues machine placement, positioning and interpreting data that explained game characteristics. The initiative also covered areas of improvement around Rewards programs reviews, market share movement, promotions effectiveness analysis and other broader topics to help venues partner with Aristocrat in a broader context.
As a result of working with venues during this period, we believe venues will come out of this by refining their focus and embracing effective cost reductions that effects profitability. As a result, this initiative will continue as part of our broader offering to venues to form a true partnership with venues. In NSW we have distributed some region-specific insights and data that we will be looking to tabling with venues soon for feedback on how we can leverage our capabilities to assist you in the future. In the meantime, our business continues to bring in talent that we believe will benefit Aristocrat and NSW Clubs customers alike. Anthony Ball joins us in the role of General Manager, Government and Industry Relations after a distinguished career as CEO of Clubs NSW. Terry O’Halloran has also joined us in the capacity of Industry Insights from the world of Consulting.
While we understand there is still a great amount of uncertainty ahead with our industry, Aristocrat continue to look at ways to work with and engage our customers in a way that can improve the business of all parties.