British casinos seek to avoid more closures

The UK is preparing for the possibility of tiered regional lockdowns.
The UK is preparing for the possibility of tiered regional lockdowns.

Casinos have again offered to stop serving alcohol in a bid to avoid closures.

UK.- Casinos in the UK are again trying to negotiate a compromise to avoid facing tough Covid-19 measures.

Last month, casinos in London offered to close their bars in an attempt to avoid a curfew. That offer fell on deaf ears and casinos in England must now close at 10pm along with bars and pubs.

Now casinos are offering to stop selling alcohol in a bid to avoid a complete shutdown as the UK government prepares to step up Covid-19 measures again. 

An anticipated three-tier system of regional lockdowns could see  hospitality venues, including casinos, closed in areas with high rates of Covid-19 infection.

Betting and Gaming Council chief executive, Michael Dugher, wrote to British MPs to say that closure would put thousands of jobs at risk despite casinos having proved they could operate safely.

Revenue is already down by 70 per cent year-on-year.

Dugher wrote: “Casinos have already proved, thanks to their world class track and trace systems, the use of Perspex screens, hand sanitisers and strict social distancing rules, that they are Covid-secure according to Public Health England.

“There are relatively few casinos, we know that their impact on Covid is negligible and they have in fact operated perfectly safely since re-opening in August. There are no public health grounds to order their closure now.”

He said that casinos would stop serving alcohol to demonstrate clearly that they should not be classed alongside pubs and clubs.

He said: “Ministers need to understand that casinos are not pseudo-nightclubs or places where young people go to drink.

“Nevertheless, they are willing to reduce their risk levels even further by refusing to serve alcohol, which the government seems to think is another factor in the spread of the virus.

“In light of all of this, I would urge ministers to be reasonable and allow casinos to remain safely open and continue to play their part in raising desperately-needed tax revenues for the Treasury, whilst also stopping the spread of the coronavirus.”

The BGC has also criticised the Scottish government’s decision to impose a 6pm curfew on all licensed indoor hospitality premises for 16 days, and a complete shutdown in five areas, including the major cities Glasgow and Edinburgh.

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