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BGC calls on UK government to allow casinos to reopen

24th June 2020 7:46 am GMT
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The Betting and Gaming Council has questioned the UK government’s decision to exclude casinos from the list of hospitality and leisure venues that will be allowed to reopen from 4 July under the government’s COVID-19 de-escalation plan.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the reopening date for hospitality and leisure venues such as pubs, restaurants, gaming arcades and cinemas on Tuesday but excluded casinos, a move described as “inconsistent and frankly nonsensical” by the BGC.

The industry association highlighted the preventative measures employed by the casino industry to combat the spread of the coronavirus, including sanitisation protocols and table capacity limits, redesigned floor layouts and the use of plexiglass screens to protect staff and customers, adding that operators stand ready to work with government on any outstanding issues which will enable them to re-open their doors safely as soon after 4 July as possible.

“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,” said BGC chief executive Michael Dugher. “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 4 July.

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

All casinos in the country have been closed since 23 March as part of the national effort to tackle the spread of the virus.

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