In the United Kingdom and The Betting and Gaming Council has welcomed a ‘belated’ government decision that is to allow every one of the 110 land-based casinos in England to re-open from tomorrow morning.
The London-headquartered organization represents approximately 90% of gaming, sportsbetting, casino and bingo operators in the United Kingdom and used an official Thursday press release to declare that the move will come as ‘welcome relief’ to the over 12,000 people who work in the industry as most have been on coronavirus-related furloughs since the end of March.
Casinos in England were temporarily shuttered from March 20 as the government of Prime Minister Boris Johnson (pictured) struggled to cope with the impact of a highly-contagious coronavirus pandemic that has so far killed over 41,000 people. These venues were initially due to be permitted to re-open from the first day of August but saw this timetable controversially delayed by a further 15 days late last month owing to an unexpected rise in infection rates in numerous cities including Leicester, Manchester and Bradford.
Despite news that its members are to be allowed to re-open their casinos under a strict set of precautionary social distancing measures, The Betting and Gaming Council warned that the sector is ‘not yet out of the woods’ and faces ‘difficult days’ ahead. The organization’s Chief Executive, Michael Dugher, proclaimed that he hopes venues in Scotland and Wales will soon be allowed to follow suit so as to end the insecurity faced by those who rely on the sector for their livelihoods.
Read a statement from Dugher…
“This belated good news will come as a welcome relief to the 12,000 people employed in the casino sector in England. We regret that it has taken so long for staff to return to work; long after all manner of venues and activities that don’t have anything like the anti-coronavirus measures you will see in any casino were re-opened.”
Earlier this week saw The Betting and Gaming Council officially lobby the government for an extension to its job retention furlough scheme in light of the fact that the added 15-day wait could result in the casino industry incurring as much as £14 million ($18 million) in extra costs. The organization had moreover cautioned that any further re-opening delays could lead to the permanent closure of several venues including The Hippodrome Casino London alongside the equally-opulent Les Ambassadeurs Club.
Dugher’s statement read…
“Casinos are not yet out of the woods though. The last five months have left many casinos on the brink and the next few months will be particularly crucial to their recovery as the tourism, leisure and hospitality sector slowly gets back on its feet. This sector can play an important part in our national economic recovery and I hope ministers will continue to work closely with the industry to provide support through this difficult period.”
Finally, the devolved government for Scotland earlier advised that it was hoping to allow casinos in this jurisdiction to revive operations from August 24. Dugher stated that he is now hoping officials will stay true to this target as ‘there can be no justification for further delaying their opening’.
Read the statement from Dugher…
“Casinos have invested heavily in new coronavirus safeguards. We continue to urge the Welsh government to fully engage with the sector and seek the reassurances we can provide to bring about the safe re-opening of casinos in Wales.”