The Welsh government has given the go-ahead for casinos to re-open from next week, a decision hailed as “the right move” by the Betting and Gaming Council.
Mark Drakeford, Wales’s First Minister, said the venues will be able to get back to business from August 29 following the COVID-19 lockdown, after previously receiving criticism from the BGC after he “likened casinos to nightclubs in risk profile for the spreading of coronavirus”.
Our preparations for reopening are almost complete. It would be great if @WelshGovernment @MarkDrakeford @vaughangething @KenSkatesMS @JulieMorganLAB @PublicHealthW could finally acknowledge the difference between a casino and a nightclub and look at our efforts… pic.twitter.com/UdMfD1cYsn
— LesCroupiers Cardiff (@LesCroupiers) August 8, 2020
The announcement comes after Nicola Sturgeon confirmed that Scottish casinos will open their doors again on August 24, with establishments across England having gained the right to re-open from August 15.
The venues have introduced a range of measures to ensure the safety of returning staff and customers, including perspex screens, track and trace systems and strict social distancing rules.
Wales has four casinos, Les Croupiers Casino Cardiff, Grosvenor Casino Swansea, Grosvenor G Casino Cardiff and Rainbow Casino Cardiff, which employ approximately 300 people.
Michael Dugher, BGC chief executive, said of the announcement: “I warmly welcome this announcement by Mark Drakeford, which is the right move and a tremendous boost for the hundreds of men and women who work in Welsh casinos, as well as their customers.
“The Welsh Government has listened to the concerns of our members and responded to the tremendous efforts they have made to ensure they can re-open safely.
“It’s great news that casinos across Great Britain are now able to open their doors and make a vital contribution to the country’s economic recovery.”
Between them, the UK’s 125 casinos employ 14,000 people and before the Covid-19 lockdown were contributing around £300m a year in tax to the Treasury.