BGC urges urgent work following ‘inconsistent’ UK casinos decision

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The Betting and Gaming Council has called on the UK Government to “urgently work” with casinos to ensure a “safe and speedy” reopening this summer after slamming an “inconsistent and nonsensical” decision to keep doors closed.

This comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson yesterday confirmed that the land-based casinos would remain closed beyond July 4, a date which will see many segments of the region’s hospitality industry reopen to strict COVID guidelines.

The BGC previously expressed confidence that the establishments would be permitted to resume action during the latest easing measure, with the group now urging ministers to work with operators to ensure that does go ahead.

Every casino in the country has been closed since March 23 as part of the national effort to tackle the spread of the virus, with operators said to have “working round the clock” to ensure their premises, and the way they operate, adhere to guidelines.

Measures introduced include ensuring customers use hand sanitisers before entering the casino as well as when joining and leaving a gaming table, in addition to limiting entry to one person at a time with social distancing enforced in queues outside.

Table capacity limits would be intrduced to reduce the risk of infection, face coverings would be made available to customers on request and floors layouts have also been designed.

Furthermore, gaming machines would be cleaned after each play session, ATMs will be sanitised at least once an hour and plexiglass screens may also be used where necessary to maintain social distancing and protect staff and customers.

Michael Dugher, chief executive of the Betting and Gaming Council, said of the decision to leave casinos off the list of establishments that can reopen their doors once again on July 4: “We welcome the fact that the lockdown is being eased further. 

“The whole country has made sacrifices over the past few months to combat the coronavirus and it’s good news that the Government is determined to get the economy moving again by reopening the likes of pubs, restaurants, cinemas, amusement arcades and bingo halls, whilst protecting public health.

“But it is inconsistent and frankly nonsensical that casinos are being forced to remain closed, when other parts of the hospitality and leisure industry are opening up again.

“Our casino members make a huge contribution to the economy, sustaining thousands of jobs and providing large amounts of much-needed tax revenue to the Treasury. Casinos have done everything that they were asked to do by the Government and they have pulled out all the stops to ensure they are able to open their doors safely for both staff and customers from July 4.

“It is therefore extremely disappointing that the Government has not yet cleared casinos to reopen. We want to urgently work with Ministers to ensure that casinos are reopened safely and as speedily as possible this summer”.