Italian Covid-19 lockdown forces Snaitech shops to close

10 March 2020

Playtech has closed all of its Snaitech retail shops across Italy after the country’s government announced a nationwide lockdown in an effort to stop the spread of novel coronavirus (Covid-19).

Last night (9 March), Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte ordered all citizens to remain at home and seek permission for essential travel only as he initiated a lockdown of the entire country, affecting over 60m citizens.

Italy has been badly hit by the outbreak of the virus, with more than 460 people confirmed to have died to date.

As part of the emergency measures, the Italian government has closed all betting shops, arcades and bingo halls across the country until 3 April, alongside cinemas, theatres, gyms, discos and pubs. Weddings, funerals and sporting events, including the country's top football division, Serie A, have also been suspended, while all non-essential travel has been severely limited.

Playtech said it will comply with the measures by shutting down its Snaitech retail estate, but added that the brand's online activity will continue and may help to mitigate some of the impact of the retail closures.

In addition, Playetch said an increase in market volatility has led to a very strong performance within TradeTech year-to-date, and this could help offset any drop in retail revenue. It did not provide any figures on the potential impact of the outbreak on its revenue or earnings.

Confirmation of the retail closures comes after Playtech cited the coronavirus as a potential risk or uncertainty for the group in its full-year results announcement for the 12 months to 31 December 2019.

Revenue grew by 23% to €1.51bn (£1.31bn/$1.71bn) while its adjusted EBITDA increased by 11% to €383.1m. However, the impact of discontinued operations and tax meant it reported a net loss of €19.6m.

Looking forwards to 2020, Playtech said the coronavirus may present potential risks to its supply chains should the situation worsen. The supplier also noted that Covid-19 could present potential risks to key business generating markets such as Asia and Italy.

The Italian lockdown came after industry analysts H2 Gambling Capital last week revealed that the global gambling industry could see revenue fall to 2017 levels under a worst case scenario. Based on reduced activity in China and its autonomous regions, as well as Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Malaysia and South Korea, it said revenue could fall by at least 1%, and by as much as 8% if the outbreak worsens.