In the United Kingdom and The Betting and Gaming Council has announced that over 100 of the nation’s casinos could be forever closed unless the government quickly allows them to emerge from their coronavirus-induced lockdowns.
The London-headquartered organization represents approximately 90% of gaming, sportsbetting, casino and bingo operators in the United Kingdom and used an official Monday press release to declare that the country is at risk of ‘permanently losing part of its rich tourism and entertainment heritage’ unless the government of Prime Minister Boris Johnson (pictured) allows gambling-friendly venues to rapidly re-open.
The Betting and Gaming Council explained that the casinos at risk of being shuttered for good include The Hippodrome Casino London, which was officially opened by Johnson in 2012, as well as the capital city’s iconic Les Ambassadeurs Club. The group used its press release to detail that the 110 casinos in England have been temporarily closed due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic since the end of March but had been due to be revived from the first day of August before a government U-turn led to this date being pushed back by a further 15 days.
Michael Dugher, Chief Executive for The Betting and Gaming Council, utilized the release to additionally ask the British government to consider extending its official job retention furlough scheme in light of the fact that the extra 15-day wait could end up costing the casino industry as much as £14 million ($18 million), which may threaten the livelihoods of 6,000 of the over 14,000 people directly employed by the sector.
Read a statement from Dugher…
“Some of Britain’s most iconic casinos that attract high-spending visitors from around the world are sitting idle while pubs and restaurants round the corner are open and doing a roaring trade. The government must step in to save these businesses before it’s too late. As a first step, they should extend the full furlough scheme to help offset the £14 million casinos are expected to lose as a result of the two-week delay and compensate casinos for the wasted costs of the late change of decision on their re-opening.”
The Betting and Gaming Council moreover described casinos as an important part of the United Kingdom’s ‘world-class leisure and hospitality industry’ that every year hand over in excess of £300 million ($392 million) in tax. It pronounced that the industry is thought to have spent roughly £6 million ($7.8 million) on making their venues safe for a re-opening that never came and is now being hit by additional costs as the government tapers its furlough scheme so as to oblige still-shuttered facilities to pay an even larger share of their employees’ National Insurance and pension contributions.
Dugher’s statement read…
“Casino operators have done everything asked of them by Public Health England. They have gone to extraordinary lengths and cost to ensure their venues are secure from coronavirus. They were rightly given the green light to re-open by public health officials who recognized the significant investment operators had made and the negligible risk they posed.”
Finally, The Betting and Gaming Council stated that its plea to Johnson, who is currently enjoying a two-week holiday in Scotland, has received support ‘from across the political spectrum’ while furthermore revealing that the industry donated the around £200,000 ($261,500) in food and drink it had stocked in preparation for the August 1 re-opening to a range of local charities.