Gambling companies’ owners have warned that the last-minute decision of Prime Minister Boris Johnson to once again postpone the reopening of casino venues in the country could jeopardise up to 6,000 jobs in the sector.
Gambling bosses, along with the trade body representing the companies, the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), described the Prime Minister’s actions as swindling a wrecking ball through the industry after the official plans associated with the much-awaited reopening of casinos on August 1st were put on hold again. The British Government has made a change in plans for easing the coronavirus restrictions amid increasing concerns that the second wave of the pandemic is approaching the country.
After the Government revealed the decision to keep casino venues across the country shut for two more weeks, the BGC addressed the Chancellor Rishi Sunak to protest this decision. According to the trade body that represents some of the largest gambling companies in the UK, the move was not only inconsistent and illogical, but it would also seriously harm the industry and the thousands of people employed there.
One person close to the gambling sector shared that it looks like Members of Parliament use casinos as a political pawn.
Preparations for Casino Venues Reopening Have Cost the Industry around £6 Million
With casinos in England forced to remain closed, the Betting and Gaming Council has warned that the industry may have to lay off up to 6,000 employees, which is almost half the number of jobs supported by the sector.
According to reports, the total costs of preparing for casino venues reopening on August 1st, including security, training, taking staff off furlough, etc., amount to around £6 million. Apart from that, one week of casino closure has been estimated to cost the sector more than £5 million. Furthermore, the lengthy closure of casinos has also weighed on the UK Treasury, with the furlough scheme and lost tax revenue costing about £10 million per week.
For the time being, over 14,000 people in the UK are employed in 125 casinos, with a further 4,000 individuals employed in the supply chain of these venues. The country’s casino industry accounted for tax revenue of more than £300 million on an annual basis before the lockdown.
However, the lengthy shutdown across the gambling industry has brought serious difficulties to the sector. The CEO of the Betting and Gaming Council, Michael Dugher, described the most recent move of the Government as swinging a wrecking ball that would end up with massive job losses that could have been avoided and would not have been necessary. Mr Dugher has further said that the casino operators in England had taken the required preparations in order to be able to safely reopen their venues.
Some of the largest casino companies in the UK – the Rank Group, which currently employs more than 4,600 people, and Genting Casino, which employs over 4,000 individuals – have confirmed that they could be forced to make tough decisions regarding the future of their businesses, with job losses described as unavoidable.