The UK government has given the green light for casinos in England to reopen at the start of next month.
UK.- The government has announced that casinos in England can reopen from August 1 as the country further relaxes Covid-19 lockdown measures.
The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), which has been lobbying for casinos to be allowed to reopen, welcomed the move and called on the governments of Wales and Scotland to follow the decision.
Casinos in the UK have been closed for more than four months due to Covid-19 measures. Venues closed on March 20 and expected to be allowed to reopen at the start of this month along with bingo halls and other non-essential businesses, only to be excluded from the current phase at the last minute.
The Betting and Gaming Council has highlighted the work casinos have done to ready for reopening with tighter social distancing and hygiene measures, and warned of the risk to jobs posed by extended closure.
Chief Executive, Michael Dugher, said: “After four long months of lockdown, it’s fantastic to see casinos will reopen safely for business again on 1 August. I am delighted that they can now play their part in supporting the recovery of the tourism and hospitality sector.
“BGC casino members went the extra mile to meet strict Covid guidelines some weeks ago but were left in the dark as to when they would be allowed to reopen.
“I’d like to thank DCMS Secretary of State Oliver Dowden, Minister Nigel Hiddleston and the many cross-party MPs who supported us and worked hard to secure a reopening date.”
The reopening data will allow many of the 12,000 people employed by casinos in England to return to work, but no date has yet been set for casinos in Wales and Scotland where casinos employ another 2,000 people.
Dugher has called on the respective governments to announce their own plans for the venues, noting that the continued closures left around 2,000 employees unable to work.
He said: “The uncertainty has been awful for the 12,000 people who work in casinos in England and we now call on Scottish and Welsh governments to follow suit and permit casinos to reopen without delay.
“The devolved administrations owe it to the 2,000 employees who work in Scottish and Welsh casinos to end this uncertainty and help them return to work.”
Meanwhile, it’s thought that not all casinos in England will take up the chance to reopen on August 1.
Some venues that rely more heavily on visiting players already said they expected to wait until travel restrictions are eased before reopening, and Genting UK, one of the UK’s largest casino operators, announced back in June that it is to permanently close several casinos, laying off up to 1,642 staff.