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Betting and Gaming Council calls for action to combat energy crisis

22nd August 2022 11:30 am GMT
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Britain’s Betting and Gaming Council has called for urgent action by the next Prime Minister to protect the hospitality and leisure sector from “catastrophic” energy price hikes.

Michael Dugher, CEO of the Betting and Gaming Council, which represents 95 per cent of the UK’s regulated gambling businesses, warns that bricks-and-mortar casinos and betting shops are being hit hard by soaring energy bills, just like the rest of the hospitality sector.

Britain has 6,500 betting shops and 121 casinos that directly employ 44,000 people and support a further 48,000 jobs, contributing £4bn to the UK economy and £2bn in taxes each year.

According to the BGC, more than 200 independent betting shops have closed in the last 5 years, with more now under threat from soaring energy costs.

Dugher’s warning follows the release of Rank Group's financial results last week, which showed a 77 per cent increase in energy costs to £23 million in the financial year ended June 30, with concerns that they could hit £46 million this year at current market prices.

“The cost of simply doing business is rising at an exponential rate,” said Dugher. “If urgent action isn’t taken soon, continued energy price increases could have a catastrophic impact across the hospitality and leisure sector, including hitting our members.

“Casinos are a vital pillar of the hospitality and tourism sector in cities and towns across the UK. Just like the rest of the hospitality sector, they are struggling to build back after the global pandemic and now they face a new crisis.

“Meanwhile bookmakers, which play a critical role on the UK’s hard-pressed high streets, face similar challenges. In short, any business which welcomes customers into a building must grapple with this energy emergency.”

A range of interventions have been suggested to protect businesses and bill-players from the price hikes, but no specific measures have been introduced to protect the hospitality and leisure sectors during the current leadership vacuum in the UK.

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