Edvins Lobins, Chairman of the Board and Co-owner of CTC HOLDINGS – a professional casino equipment manufacturer, has shared information regarding the current major challenges for the company and the influence of the Coronavirus outspread on the industry.
Edvins, you have more than 25 years of experience in gaming equipment manufacturing. It is quite a specific industry. What are its most challenging areas?
Next year I’ll mark my 30-year anniversary in the field of gaming equipment manufacturing.
During all these years we had to cope with different kinds of challenges. When CTC was established back in 1991 by my late father and me, we had absolutely no knowledge and experience in gaming equipment manufacturing. We literally started from scratch! And it was a real challenge at the time! Our main markets were the Baltic countries, Russia and Ukraine. Eventually, after Latvia had joined the EU, Europe became our core market. Today we supply our products to the most demanding customers in France, Germany, UK, Poland, and other European countries. We have successfully faced the challenge of supplying the most demanding customers and competing with the top European and international gaming equipment manufacturers.
The major challenge for us today is a shift towards electronic games and online casino live studios. Being traditionally a supplier of brick & mortar casinos, CTC HOLDINGS has designed a completely new range of gaming tables, chairs, and accessories for casino live studios to face this new challenge.
How did the current situation connected with the Coronavirus outspread impact the sector? Did the temporary closing of some casinos influence the revenue of the gambling equipment market?
It is obvious that temporary closure of practically all land-based casinos and slot halls around the world has a negative impact on the gaming industry.
Luckily there are some long-term projects in our portfolio. These projects have approved budgets and they will be fulfilled in any situation.
However, every cloud has a silver lining! Casino live gaming studios in some countries are rapidly expanding. That also gives us new opportunities for growth in the gaming equipment sector.
My main concern is a possible stagnation that may take place after quarantine restrictions are lifted.
It is obvious that gambling is regulated by various policies in all countries. Does the equipment manufacturing market depend on these regulations? Have you experienced the collision of interests between the law and manufacturers?
Gaming is a very sensitive industry from social and political points of view. Quite often politicians in various countries try to receive political dividends by severely restricting or even banning gaming activities in their countries. My native country Latvia is a bad example of how local authorities are strangling the professional and highly socially responsible gaming industry in this country.
No doubt that the gaming industry must be strictly regulated to avoid negative social consequences, but overregulation or a total ban lead to the emergence of underground gaming establishments and it makes the situation much worse.
We should all learn a lesson from the Prohibition Era in the United States when good intentions of the politicians led to an increase in alcohol consumption, loss of state revenue and the creation of organized crime.
I strongly believe that the gaming industry must be legal, but it should be closely supervised and regulated by the state.
What area is the most profitable for gaming equipment manufacturing? What are the factors that influence the demand for such products in a country, except for the number of gambling establishments?
No doubt that innovative products are the most profitable for a supplier. With China being a world workshop, it is difficult to compete with Chinese prices and its manufacturing capacity. It is innovative and custom-made products that give us an advantage. Let me give you an example. Gaming chairs for land-based casinos and for casino live studios are totally different types of chairs. What works great for Blackjack players is not good for dealers in a live studio. The ability to satisfy specific requirements of the customer directly influences demand for our products and gives us better margins.
The casino gaming equipment industry is segmented based on a region, end-user, and product type. Speaking about your company, what segment do you focus on most of all and why?
Being a highly specialized company, we are doing our best to get the most from the gaming sector.
Geographically 75% of our customers are based in Europe, 15% in Africa and 10% in the Caribbean and South America.
We manufacture and supply an extensive range of gaming equipment for land-based and studio casinos, for slot halls, for fun casinos and training schools.
We also make equipment for cruising vessels.
So, as you can see, we leave no gaming sector behind!
Last but not least, taking all reasonable precautions CTC HOLDINGS remains fully operational despite the Coronavirus pandemic.
With our motivated team and reliable suppliers, we do our best to ensure that the customers receive their products on time and reliably as usual.
Many thanks to our loyal customers for their continuing support!
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