BGC says sector may need extra support

the BGC welcomed the extension of the UK furlough scheme.
the BGC welcomed the extension of the UK furlough scheme.

The UK’s Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has said the sector may need further government support as the UK’s Covid-19 lockdown eases.

UK.- Industry association the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has called on the UK government to continue offering flexibility and aid to businesses as the country eases its Covid-19 restrictions.

It welcomed Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s pledge to maintain support for firms affected by the pandemic until October, saying the move will help to support the 64,000 people who work in the retail betting and gaming industry, but said further support may be needed for the leisure and hospitality sector.

The UK’s current furlough scheme, through which the government pay 80 per cent of wages up to £2,500 a month, runs until the end of July. From August employers will have to pay employees’ National Insurance and pension contributions, while in September, employers will need to pay 10% of furloughed staff’s wages, rising to 20% in October, with the Treasury contribution falling to 60%.

The BGC said the current assistance will help bingo halls and casinos get back up and running while retaining control over their biggest cost, staffing, but said that sector-specific aid may be needed because of restrictions over capacity as part of social distancing measures.

BGC Chief Executive, Michael Dugher, said: “Any help for businesses from the Government at this time of global crisis is of course welcome, and we thank the Chancellor for providing more clarity on how the furlough scheme will operate until the end of October.

“Even though the lockdown is easing, many of our member companies – and in particular in casinos and bingo halls – will be forced to operate at a reduced capacity for the foreseeable future because of the need to maintain strict social distancing.

“Given the significant contribution the hospitality and leisure sector makes to the UK economy, we would urge Mr Sunak keep being flexible and acknowledge that it will continue to need support from the Government as the country emerges from the pandemic.

“We have had super engagement with the Government up until now, and we look forward to that continuing so we can ensure the betting and gaming industry can play its full part in getting the UK back on its feet.”

Betting shops, bingo halls and casinos have been closed since March 20. Under current plans, betting shops will be allowed to reopen from June 15 along with other ‘non-essential retail’ outlets.

In other news, Joff Cooke has joined the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) as Chief Operating Officer (COO). Cooke’s previous position was as CEO for the University of Exeter Students’​ Guild.

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