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Poker machine giant Aristocrat Leisure announced a series of cost-cutting measures relating to its workforce, which accounts for around 70% of its operating expenses. Aristocrat’s shares have dropped 43% since February 21, impacted by social distancing rules and travel limitations worldwide.

Around 1000 staff will be stood down until the end of June, 200 roles will be permanently removed from the business and until September a further 1500 staff will have their wages cut by 10-20% and 200 people will move into part-time roles. CEO Trevor Croker’s US$1.6 million base salary will be reduced by 30%, while board fees will be cut by 20%.

“We are very sensitive to the impact of necessary cost reduction measures on our people, and will work hard to support them through this difficult time consistent with our ‘people first’ approach,” Croker said.

“We believe that these changes will help maximise opportunities for Aristocrat’s dedicated and talented people over the longer term. We will continue to do everything we can to restore momentum in our land-based business as quickly as possible recognising the importance of continuing to develop and deliver game content during this period,” Croker added.

He said that the steps announced, as well as other prudent steps taken as part of Aristocrat’s Covid-19 response, will deliver important operational and financial flexibility, focus and efficiency through this period of uncertainty.

“We are highly focused on protecting and leveraging our strategic advantages, including industry-leading Design & Development and effective User Acquisition investment, which Aristocrat will continue to prioritise. In land-based, we will ensure the business is ideally poised to partner our customers and grow as conditions improve, while in digital we remain fully focused on executing our growth plans and maximising opportunities at this time,” Croker said.