Casinos in England were due to open this week but the decision to reopen on August 1st has now been reversed by the UK Government. The Betting and Gaming Council has slammed this decision as it could ultimately lead to permanent job losses of up to 6000 people.
What Did BGC Have to Say?
The Betting and Gaming Council are, understandably, incredibly disappointed in this u-turn from the government. Most casino establishments were ready to open safely on August 1st, if not before. Casinos have been described by Prime Minister Boris Johnson as being ‘higher risk,’ which is something the BGC rejects and has written to Chancellor Rishi Sunak outlining the reasons why. In the letter, they have said that this decision is ‘highly illogical and deeply damaging to those businesses and the thousands of staff they employ.’
The BGC stated that all necessary preparations to safely reopen were undertaken after they were given the green light and now this big investment made by operators could put the businesses in even greater jeopardy.
The Cost of Not Reopening
The reopening of casinos is said to have cost around £6 million in preparations. This includes everything from food and beverages to training and taking staff off furlough. For every week that the casinos remain closed, it is said to cost the industry £5 million. This cannot, of course, continue for an extended period of time. Not only that, but there is also a huge loss in revenue for the UK Treasury, due to furlough costs and lost tax receipts, as casinos usually contribute over £5.7 million in tax per week.
The BGC highlighted that although the casino industry is small, it is a fundamental part of the hospitality, leisure, entertainment and tourism industry that is vital to the economy. With over 14,000 people directly employed in the sector and another 4,000 related jobs in the supply sector, this extended delay could result in many job losses.