As of this writing toward the end of March 2020, an unprecedented 100% of casinos in the U.S. and Canada – and many more throughout the world – are closed due to government mandated COVID-19 social distancing, large group size restrictions or by their own choice. In this VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity) world, it is increasingly clear that gaming and hospitality will be defined as the period pre-COVID-19 and the new normal that will emerge post COVID-19. In the near future, we will see the beginning of discussion and debate about what the new normal could entail for gaming and hospitality. Here, I attempt to start the dialogue and answer the question that the executive leadership of our gaming and hospitality members around the world are asking: What will it take to navigate this crisis today and what will emerge in the new normal?
Based on Info-Tech Research Group’s analysis, summarized in Figure 1, there are three phases that require action, starting from the crisis of today (Now in Crisis) to the new normal that will emerge (Crisis Resolved). The duration of each phase will vary based on political, geographic, social, economic, market and organizational readiness and context, and operators may find themselves in more than one phase simultaneously. Info-Tech Research Group has created an extensive COVID-19 Response Center and, hopefully, by the time of publication the urgency of solving for the Now in Crisis phase will have passed. Therefore, the focus here will be envisioning the future of gaming and hospitality in a post-pandemic, Crisis Resolved, new normal. Figure 1 outlines the three phases of preparation.