BGC demands UK allows casinos to reopen

The BGC says casinos have taken measures so they can reopen safely.
The BGC says casinos have taken measures so they can reopen safely.

The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has renewed criticism of the delay and called on ministers to guarantee casinos can open this month.

UK.- The gambling industry association, the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), has called on government ministers to guarantee UK casinos can open this month to prevent job losses.

The BGC was highly critical of the UK government’s late decision to exclude casinos from the list of businesses that could reopen this Saturday (July 4).

Despite initially expecting to be able to reopen on Saturday with many other leisure and hospitality businesses, casinos, along with nightclubs, swimming pools, indoor gyms and beauty salons, now have no date for reopening.

BGC CEO, Michael Dugher, has stressed again that UK casinos have already taken measures to make venues “Covid-proof” and were ready to reopen.

He highlighted the example of the Rialto Piccadilly Circus Casino in London as a venue that had “pulled out all the stops” to protect the safety of staff and customers when it reopens.

He 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.

“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.”

Also this week, Rank Group CEO John O’Reilly wrote to the UK Treasury to call for the casinos’ exclusion to be reversed. He said that the delay to reopening threatened jobs in an industry that has 14,000 direct employees and contributes £300million a year in taxes.  

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