Land-Based Casino In UK Set To Open

Published July 13, 2020 by Sol FH

Land-Based Casino In UK Set To Open

The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has urged the UK government to open land-based casinos this month.

The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has called upon the Chancellor of the UK government to approve the opening of land-based casinos, this month, with CEO Michael Dugher claiming that more delays could cause “irreparable damage” to the industry.

Betting shops were open in June, while bingo halls also began to open around July 4, but the government is yet to say definitively when casinos would follow.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak plans to make a statement on Wednesday as to how the government plans to boost the UK economy after Covid-19, and Dugher has urged him to use this statement to also state how and when casinos will reopen. Casinos across the UK have been closed since the lockdown on March 23 leaving millions without jobs and the entire land-based gambling industry in ruins. 

Dugher, who wrote an open letter to the Chancellor, said that the current situation is losing the UK government money, to the tune of £5m (€5.5m/$6.2m) each week from the land-based casinos alone. He added that casinos paid an average of £5.7m each week in tax and duties, last year.

“The UK casino sector was sorely disappointed not to be included in the list of industries allowed to reopen on 4 July,” Dugher said, talking about how pubs, cinemas, and restaurants, as well as a number of other businesses, were approved to reopen over the weekend.

“Casinos want to get back in business and once again contributing to the economy, not costing the Exchequer money. With phased reductions in wage support kicking in soon, there is however a real fear that if reopening doesn’t happen in July there will be severe damage caused to the casino industry.”

With the proper regulations and rules in place, Dugher claimed that casinos are ready to safely welcome customers. These include the installation of plastic screens and sanitization equipment, as well as using a track and trace system to follow potentially infected, and, respecting social distancing regulations.

“To our knowledge, casinos have met all Covid-19 safety requirements and yet they are still not permitted to open,” Dugher mentioned. “We urgently ask for your help to get casinos reopened and back to contributing to the UK economy.

“The cost of remaining in a reopening ‘holding pattern’ is significantly higher as it means businesses are kept in a state of preparedness, including maintaining the premises for reopening, cleaning, restocking supplies, and staffing.”

Casinos across Europe have been open, despite having to meet less strict measures than those in the UK.

“Having made the necessary preparations for a July reopening, casinos are ready and able to open at the earliest opportunity,” Dugher commented. “We would greatly appreciate any help you can give to get our businesses back open and contributing to the UK economy.”

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