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BGC welcomes UK Job Support Scheme as 10pm curfew hits casinos

25th September 2020 8:56 am GMT

Britain’s casino operators have welcome the government’s decision to introduce a Job Support Scheme to cover a portion of employee costs as casinos begin to operate under a 10pm curfew, although they warn of ongoing risks to jobs due to the new operating restrictions.

The Job Support Scheme announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak Thursday will take over from the furlough scheme when it expires at the end of October and will see the government provide 22 per cent of a worker’s normal wages over the next six months, subject to the individual working at least one-third of their normal hours. Employers will pay a further 55 per cent of normal wages, with the government contribution capped at £697.72 per month.

The new employee support programme follows the introduction of a 10pm curfew on leisure venues to combat the spread of COVID-19, which will have a significant impact on casinos, where the majority of revenue is generated after 10pm.

Michael Dugher, chief executive of the Betting and Gaming Council, welcomed the Chancellor’s move but warned that it would be insufficient to stave off the risks faced by the casino industry.

“The Chancellor has gone some way towards providing support for casinos, who are an important part of the hospitality, leisure and tourism industries that will help power the country’s economic recovery.  We asked for his help and we’re pleased that he has listened,” said Dugher.

“However, given the unique challenge that the curfew presents to an industry which does between 50 and 70 per cent of its trade after 10pm, the package as it stands does not alleviate much of the sector’s concerns. Casinos have suffered considerable blows in recent days and weeks and will need all the support they can get to be able to play their part in the recovery of towns, cities and communities.”

“The wage subsidy scheme will help in some way as the industry continues to reel from the curfew restrictions,” Dugher added. “Operators would far rather be able to trade than rely on subsidies but after a gruelling few days this is some respite.”

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