Brexit and Trump ‘just a blip’ in a changing world, says industry panel

Brexit and Trump ‘just a blip’ in a changing world, says industry panel

Monday, February 6, 2017

Brexit and Trump could be ‘just a blip’ in an ever-changing world, according to a panel discussion at the International Casino Conference.

Rob Heller, CEO and Co-Founder of the Spectrum Gaming Group, told the floor that the gaming industry would have to adapt to a changing world and a backlash against globalisation in a Talking Heads session called Casino Projects from Around the World – Europe.

Executive President of MGM Resorts, Alan Feldman, described the current global climate as “An unusual set of circumstances” but added that he believed MGM Resorts would largely remain unaffected by the changes. “We create hard assets and hundreds, if not thousands of jobs – jobs that cannot be exported. The political movements around the world are targeting companies that take jobs out of different countries.”

Feldman believed there could also be a “push back” effect from isolationism: “In most of the world, people are accustomed to travelling and have done so for 20, 40 and 60 years, I do not think we can turn our back on that. People want to go places and this is ingrained.”

He cautioned: “There will be bumps in the road – no question about that. But any economic damage will result in a push back. We can only see what will happen; I know that sounds strangely optimistic, but that’s where my head’s at.”

Christina Romero, Partner at Socia Loyra, said Trump in the US and Brexit in the UK could result in the movement of players or companies. She suggested players could change where they play due to new restrictions. Businesses within the sector may decide to move online or to another jurisdiction to circumvent any new restrictions.

Mike Rothwell, Managing Director of Caesars EMEA said Brexit may make movement of labour more difficult for businesses within the sector. He said: “Ultimately, the UK will become better off, but I think it’s quite sad that we have chosen not to be part of something more culturally diverse, from a personal perspective.”

He added: “Trump, for me, is a bigger deal. I do not think that will change. I wish he would think before he speaks. I’m a bit nervous about Trump, less fussed about Brexit – I see it as a bit of a ‘blip.’”

Nelson Parker, Senior Vice President Casino Development for Hard Rock International, said global ‘blips’ did cause caution for major projects such as the integrated casino resort (ICR) in Cyprus, a country popular with UK tourists. He added: “Change happens all over the world and in life. It’s critical to business that we navigate this. By and large we are survivors.”

Summing up, session moderator Rob Heller said the the industry would have to remain both “optimistic and cautious” about potential global changes.