The casino industry-like many commercial entertainment companies-has faced an eternity of delays from supply issues over the past two years. From casino opening pushbacks to labor shortages to reconfiguring slot machine switchboards, the supply chain issues have affected many aspects of the industry, but things appear to be looking up. While everything isn’t quite back to normal, this problem is currently not as big of a concern to casino operators as it was.
Logistic Issues During Covid
The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically affected the global supply chain. The vast majority of commercial businesses have been experiencing serious supply chain struggles since the pandemic started.
The pandemic caused hundreds of factories in China to shut down, causing a delay in shipments which caused a surplus of shipping containers occupying ports. The shipping industry could not keep up with the number of containers needing transport, delaying the entire process.
This issue was made worse by the labor shortage and rising fuel prices in the United States. Even if these shipments did reach US soil, there would be no truck drivers to deliver shipments across the country.
In the casino and gambling world, slot machine makers were halted. With slot machines evolving into newer high-tech games, makers were unable to obtain the necessary parts they needed. These companies have come up with some resolutions, like gaining access to more readily available chips instead of custom ones, but there are still more problems to be solved.
CEO of the video game and entertainment company, Konami Steve Sutherland, said in an interview discussing the issues: “Probably six months ago, it was like playing whack-a-mole. Today we’re not playing whack-a-mole, but there are surprises that impact us. We see the end in sight, I think it’s probably going to be sometime next year.”
Supply Chain Progress
Casino managers, operators, and suppliers are starting to see progress in the last few months. Rolling Hills Casino, based in California, has experienced the effects of the supply chains and has adapted during the process.
“The reality is, we still have challenges, but it’s a combination of either finding different ways to do things or doing things with different things, or just not even noticing it anymore because it’s normal now,” says general manager Steve Neely. “We just have to be more patient and plan things further out. And that’s probably been the most difficult part for us because it’s a very fast-paced business, and you don’t always have the luxury of time.”
At this year’s Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas, most games on display were available for operators, which differs from years prior.
Senior director of slot operations for Choctaw Casinos and Resorts Perkins said, “This year, you saw a lot more people show a lot of content that was available now, which was a higher portion than what we saw in the past for most people.”
Manufacturers are also more equipped for the high demand for slot machine parts. IGT (a leader in slot machine manufacturing) made a statement regarding its positive outlook for 2023. “The majority of the products and solutions that we show at G2E are either currently available to customers, or will become available at some point during the first half of 2023.”
There have not been many delay extensions lately, so hopefully, the wait will be over soon, and casinos can get back to focusing on offering their customers the best casino experience possible.
Mac Daniel is a Michigan native and freelance writer for PlayOnlineCasino and PlayOnlineSportsBetting. He has experience writing about a wide variety of topics, including healthcare, tourism, non-profit organizations, and most recently casino and sportsbetting news. To check out more of his work, visit: playonlinemichigan.com