Macau | Local gaming industry should run industry-wide crisis simulation exercise – Crisis expert

Macau (MNA) – Local companies and especially gaming operators should not be afraid of co-operating in an industry-wide crisis simulation exercise to prepare them for as many diverse emergency scenarios as possible, a crisis management expert told Macau News Agency (MNA).

Speaking after a talk organised by the France Macau Chamber of Commerce at Sofitel Hotel, Willem Hoekstra – Head of Business Continuity for Nomura International – told MNA that company management tends to prepare for possible threats that are in “fashion” while forgetting the ones that have fallen out of the public eye.

“When Typhoon Hato hit, many organisations were insufficiently prepared for that, so the tendency then is to suddenly focus all your attention on preparing for typhoons, which is probably not wise. It’s comparable to if you drive a car you’re driving safely. If you see an accident your natural instinct is to start driving very slowly and buckle up. Of course you should always buckle up,” he added.

According to Mr. Hoekstra the real challenge for businesses is to prepare for all scenarios – something that can be achieved by analysing the company organisation, what assets would place the company in trouble if damaged or lost, and designing strategies for these eventualities that can be tested, exercised and embedded in the company’s organisation.

“It’s about building generic plans and preparing for the unexpected; that’s what we need to do rather than making specific plans. You should plan for everything that you can plan for  The casino industry is not that much different; you still need those elements, you probably need gaming machines. You need to identify what you need to operate and what you can do if those elements are not there anymore,” he said.

The crisis management expert also suggested that local gaming operators should not avoid conducting joint crisis simulations for fear that it could send a sense of possible danger to the public or that competitors and the government could discover confidential information.

As an example he mentioned an industry-wide crisis simulation exercise that was conducted in Hong Kong last year, with 45 financial institutions practising their crisis management response to a systemic threat such as a cyberattack or physical threats such as a bomb scare.

According to Mr. Hoekstra, although the drill organised by the Hong Kong Financial Services Business Continuity Management Forum (HKFSBCM) involved communication with the Hong Kong Government, only general information that would not harm the public image of the involved parties was shared

“You can organise an exercise with all these players in a way that you’re never going to reveal individual actions. You don’t know what an individual bank has been doing – the simulation organiser will know it but we’ll never publish it. That’s confidential information that if released would harm its reputation,” said Mr. Hoekstra.