BGC: UK casinos need a guarantee of July reopening 

The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has called for ministers to guarantee the reopening of UK casinos in July to avoid industry job losses.

BGC CEO Michael Dugher re-emphasised that UK casinos had undertaken all necessary steps to ensure that venues are ‘covid proof’ and able to reopen safely in July, with the majority of UK leisure and hospitality businesses.

In his statement, Dugher pointed to London’s Rialto Piccadilly Circus Casino as an example of a venue that had ‘pulled out all the stops’ to ensure public and workforce safety.

Dugher said: “I was hugely impressed by what I saw at the Rialto Casino, one of the Grosvenor casinos.

“From markings urging social distancing on the floor, to multiple hand sanitisers, sanitised chips and screens separating customers and staff, it’s obvious they have pulled out all the stops to make sure they can re-open safely. I know other operators from across the country are making similar efforts and investment.”

Classed alongside nightclubs, swimming pools, indoor gyms and beauty salons, at present casino venues have been given no assigned date for their reopening by the UK’s devolved parliaments.

The BGC is disappointed at the government’s continued lockdown enforced on UK casinos, which have introduced the most stringent of social distancing rules and hygiene measures in order to ensure public and workforce safety.

Dugher echoed the sentiments expressed by Rank Group CEO John O’Reilly, who wrote to the HM Treasury explaining that a further delayed opening threatened a sector which directly employs 14,000 workforce and contributes £300 million in tax per year.  

The BGC CEO added: “We want to play our part in kick-starting the economy, just like other parts of the leisure, entertainment and hospitality industry. In this time of great economic uncertainty, the contribution that casinos make to the nation’s finances cannot be under-estimated. We hope that the Government will respond positively and quickly – and avoid the threat of significant job losses.”

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