England’s beleaguered casino industry to resume operations on August 15
After remaining shuttered for months due to COVID-19 pandemic, casinos in England are all set to resume operations and welcome back guests from Saturday, 15th of August, thanks to the British government’s decision not to further extend the closure order for gaming venues.
The gambling and entertainment facilities in England have been shuttered since 20th of March this year. The facilities were ordered to suspend all gaming operations a day before the government locked down the entire economy in response to the deadly corona virus pandemic that claimed thousands of lives in the European country. The lockdown for the casino industry was due to be lifted on 1st of August in line with the government’s reopening plans by relaxing certain restrictions. However, just a day before the previously proposed reopening of the facilities, the government declared that the restrictions would not be lifted at least until mid of August, with further delays possible.
Fortunately, the government has now decided not to extend the closure period and to permit casinos as well as other indoor facilities to resume operations, provided the venues having the appropriate health protection measures in place.
The Betting & Gaming Council (BGC) welcomed the decision, saying the reopening of the casino industry was a “welcome relief” for more than twelve thousand casino employees. However, the council stressed that it was a matter of regret that it took so long for the industry to return to activity.
Commenting on the decision, BGC Chief Executive Michael Dugher said, “Given casinos had been cleared by Public Health England as safe to reopen and given we had the strong support of DCMS, who have been steadfast throughout, it was lamentable that our safe businesses had to suffer considerable hurt and expense with a further pointless two week delay.”
Dugher also warned that casinos still faced an uncertain future as they have suffered hefty losses due to the corona virus pandemic-induced months-long closure period. He stressed that the next few months would be particularly crucial to the industry’s recovery.
The government’s decision to allow casinos to resume operations followed severe criticism and grumbling by a number of industry players. Most recently, casino operator Rank Group warned that any further delay would be ‘enormously frustrating’ for the entire industry. Earlier, BGC warned that the industry could no longer be kept in the dark as it would be as devastating to the economy as to the operators.