Casinos call on Chancellor for rescue package to save jobs threatened by curfew

Casino bosses have called on Rishi Sunak to announce an urgent Government rescue package to save thousands of jobs in the sector which have been put at risk by the Covid curfew. A total of 14,000 posts are at risk as a result of the shutdown, which forces hospitality and leisure venues to close at 10pm.

The Chancellor is due to set out his plans in a statement to MPs and casinos have stressed that because up to 70 per cent of their trade is done after that time, they will be uniquely affected by the shutdown.

The casinos also point out that senior Public Health England officials have agreed that their anti-Covid measures – including Perspex screens and best-in-class track and trace systems – are excellent.

In advance of his Commons statement, casino chiefs have urged Mr Sunak to unveil a generous package of measures to keep them in business until the pandemic is over. As a first step, they have called for an extension of the Job Retention Scheme, which is due to end on 31 October.

Other taxpayer-backed initiatives should also be considered as a way of keeping the businesses viable and contributing to the Treasury as it tries to rebuild the British economy, the casinos say.

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Michael Dugher, chief executive of the Betting and Gaming Council, said: “Casinos have demonstrated that they are Covid-secure, and yet are being ordered to close their doors at 10pm.

“This is an illogical and disproportionate decision which puts thousands of jobs at risk.

“The Chancellor must implement an urgent economic package which enables casinos to stay open and protect jobs so that, when the pandemic is over, they can play their part in getting the British economy back on its feet.”