The UK Government’s decision to give the green light to casinos to reopen in England has been welcomed by the industry standards body the Betting and Gaming Council as a major boost for the tourism and hospitality sector.
But the trade body has urged the devolved administrations to ‘show their hands’ and end the uncertainty for the 2,000 employees who work in Scottish and Welsh casinos who still have no end to lockdown in sight.
The Prime Minister today confirmed that casinos in England can re-open on 1 August after more than four months in lockdown.
Casinos in England employ more than 12,000 people and contribute nearly £300 million in tax to the Exchequer. Casinos also play a vital role in the tourism economy contributing nearly £4 million a week.
The BGC has been working with members to persuade the government to give casinos the go ahead to reopen.
The betting and gaming industry – which employs over 70,000 people across the UK and contributes over £3 billion a year to the Treasury – have introduced a range of strict Covid safety measures which have already seen betting shops and bingo halls re-open and now casinos in England will follow soon.
Betting and Gaming Council 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.
“Britain’s casinos employ thousands of people and pay millions in tax, and they were one of the few remaining leisure and hospitality businesses to remain closed.
“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.”