Casino sector isn’t yet out of the woods and faces difficult days ahead: BGC
The Betting & Gaming Council (BGC) welcomed the UK government’s decision allowed land-based casinos in England to resume operations, but warned that the ‘sector isn’t yet out of the woods and faces difficult days’ ahead.
The BGC, which represents nearly 90 per cent of casino and bingo operators in the UK, said in a statement that the reopening of casinos in England would be a ‘welcome relief’ to the more than twelve thousand people who work in the sector as most them were furloughed soon after the outbreak of the corona virus pandemic in March this year.
The London-based organization’s Chief Executive Officer Michael Dugher welcomed the government’s ‘belated’ casino reopening decision, and expressed hope that casinos in Scotland and Wales would also be allowed soon to reopen their doors for the general public.
The casino sector was due to be lifted out of the months-long corona virus-induced closure on August 1st in line with the UK government’s business reopening plans. But, increasing cases of the potentially deadly infection forced the government to extend the closure. Following repeated requests and warnings from the side of the beleaguered gaming sector, the government finally allowed the sector to return to activity on August 15th.
Dugher also urged the government to provide more support to the beleaguered casino industry, which has suffered hefty losses during the months-long lockdown. In addition, the industry is being forced to make considerable investments to protect public health against the potentially deadly COVID-19 infection.
Urging the government to do more to support the casino sector, Dugher said, “Casinos are not yet out of the woods though. The last five months have left many casinos on the brink and the next few months will be particularly crucial to their recovery as the tourism, leisure and hospitality sector slowly gets back on its feet.”
Earlier, the BGC had warned that any further delay in the reopening of casinos could result in the industry incurring nearly £14 million (US$18M) in additional costs. In 2019, the casino industry contributed nearly £5.7 million per week to the UK Exchequer. Thus, the casino industry plays an important role in the national economy.
While casinos in England are finally up and running, gambling facilities in Scotland and Wales remains in the dark. The facilities in Scotland and Wales are expected to return to activity starting August 24th, of course at curtailed capacity along with a string of precautionary measures.