Aristocrat's Hector Fernandez Envisions a Balanced Future for Online and Land-Based Gambling

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Hector Fernandez, the CEO of Aristocrat, one of the largest land-based gaming companies, has outlined a future in which online gambling does not negatively impact the performance of land-based operations.

In an interview with CNBC, Fernandez explained that Aristocrat's decision to invest more heavily in the online gaming sector was not driven by a fear that interactive gaming platforms would overtake land-based casinos.

A Dual Future for Online and Land-Based Gambling Fernandez believes that there is a balance to be struck between the two verticals and is confident that Aristocrat's long-term strategy will cover both the land-based and online gaming sectors. He noted that physical gaming has been experiencing robust growth and will continue to do so in the coming years.

Fernandez also dismissed the popular fear that digital and live casino online platforms would be the demise of land-based casinos. Many states and jurisdictions in the United States have been hesitant to expand online gambling due to this concern.

However, Fernandez emphasized that digital gaming will play a role, but it will be a complementary one. Players will engage digitally but seek out land-based casinos when they desire social interaction and experience that cannot be replicated on a phone.

Appreciating the Reach of Digital Gaming, Aristocrat has recognized the additional reach and revenue impact of its real money gaming (RMG) segment. In recent months, the Australian gaming giant has closed deals with Roxor Gaming and NeoGames, two platforms specializing in the online gaming vertical. Fernandez provided further insight into why he believes his argument is valid.

We do believe digital gaming will play a role. It will be a dual role, however, where a player can engage in a digital fashion, but when they want that social interaction that you just can't get from sitting on your phone, they will go to a land-based casino to experience that.

Hector FernandezCEO of Aristocrat

The Resilience of Land-Based Casinos Fernandez's optimism is well-founded. Despite the rise of other verticals and the diversification of markets, many people are still determined to experience land-based casinos. Macau, for example, home to major gambling companies and casino resorts, has shifted its focus to promoting the tourism industry tied to these resorts rather than solely relying on casinos.

Fernandez also shared his interest in exploring new opportunities for land-based gaming, particularly in Asia. He highlighted how both North America and Asia reacted to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent reopening. According to Fernandez, once restrictions were lifted and people were allowed to physically visit venues, consumers flocked to land-based casinos rather than solely relying on digital platforms.

The future of the gaming industry is indeed a balance between land-based and online operations. Aristocrat's strategic approach to embracing both sectors positions them well to cater to the diverse preferences of players and maximize revenue opportunities.

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