The BGC said the decision to impose a midnight curfew on Scottish casinos was inexplicable.
UK.- The trade association, the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), has hit out at the Scottish government’s decision to subject hospitality venues, including casinos, to a midnight curfew.
The surprise announcement from first minister Nicola Sturgeon comes as Scotland moves into Level 0 Covid-19 restrictions from July 19. The BGC called the decision bizarre and inexplicable.
BGC chief executive Michael Dugher said: “Scottish casino operators have once again had the rug pulled from under their feet by this bizarre decision.
“The casino industry has been forced to withstand a series of inexplicable decisions by politicians within the past year and is now coming to terms with yet another setback.
“The brutal truth is that a curfew is disastrous for casinos and we were under the impression that a move to level 0 would see the curfew finally removed next week, but that’s no longer the case.
“The goalposts have changed time and again, which is grossly unfair on the colleagues and operators who have worked so hard to make casinos COVID-safe.”
The BGC said the move would be particularly tough for casinos because the sector sees half of its trade after 10pm. It raised concerns for the 700 men and women who work at casinos in Scotland.
Dugher said: “Given that casinos do most of their business after 10pm, forcing them to close at midnight is economically self-harming and shows a complete misunderstanding of the casino industry.
“I would urge Nicola Sturgeon to re-think this decision as soon as possible, and remove the uncertainty she has placed over the hundreds of hardworking staff employed by Scottish casinos.”
The BGC has repeatedly sought to highlight an independent report by Dr Lisa Ackerley, a chartered environmental health practitioner, who found that casinos were “as safe, if not safer” than other hospitality venues.
BGC calls for creation of British gambling ombudsman
The BGC has called on the UK authorities to create a gambling ombudsman to improve the process of responding to customer concerns and complaints.
Such a body could help to make the relationship between clients and the gambling industry more efficient, the BGC suggested. It proposes that it should be a legal requirement for all licensed operators to sign up.
The Charities Commission, the body that regulates charities in the UK, has opened a compliance case on The Young Gamers and Gamblers Education Trust (YGAM) over its links with industry trade body the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC).