Scientific Games Corporation has announced that its 2020 annual meeting of stockholders has been changed to a virtual meeting format due to public meeting restrictions and continued health concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

As previously announced, the annual meeting will be held on Wednesday, June 10, 2020 at 10am Pacific Daylight Time, but stockholders will only be able to access the gathering in the virtual format. 

The company said it has designed the format of the virtual annual meeting to ensure that stockholders are afforded the same rights and opportunities to participate as they would at an in-person meeting, using online tools to ensure stockholder access and participation. 

With a prompt 10am start, online access to the virtual meeting will open 30 minutes earlier to allow time for attendees to log in and test their device’s audio system. Any questions may be submitted during registration.

SG’s decision to take the virtual option for its latest annual meeting may have its roots in the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic, but according to accountancy firm pwc, virtual annual shareholder meetings are becoming more popular. 

In a guidance document, the firm noted: “During the 2019 proxy season, 248 companies held virtual shareholder meetings, compared to 212 in 2018. Of the virtual shareholder meetings during the 2019 proxy season, 93% were virtual-only and 97% of those meetings were audio-only.” 

The trend, it added, has not been without controversy. “The Council of Institutional Investors (CII) and some large institutional shareholders have publicly opposed virtual-only meetings. Companies thinking about using virtual technology at their meetings will want to ensure the board and management fully understand the concerns. And they will want to discuss whether it is appropriate to engage with shareholders on this topic.”