Following spikes of positive COVID-19 cases, UK officials may be looking to introduce a curfew. The Betting and Gaming Council together with Genting UK warned that a curfew is going to be devastating for the casino industry.
A Curfew in the UK May Result in Thousands of Redundancies in the Casino Industry
The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) warned UK officials that a 10 pm curfew would be “catastrophic” for the casino industry in the country. Commenting on the subject, BGC chief executive Michael Dugher said: “We support the need to act swiftly to protect public health, and thank the government for the support they have given the UK’s casinos so far.” Furthermore, he stressed: “However, a blanket 10 pm curfew on businesses would be catastrophic and force casinos to close once again – this time for good.“
Casinos and other entertainment businesses in the UK were shut down back in mid-March. Similar to other countries, the UK did this in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19. After four months of closed doors, casinos were preparing to reopen on August 1. This however turned into a cold shower as the re-opening was delayed for two weeks. After the two weeks, the casinos were finally allowed to resume operations on August 15. Now, given that COVID-19 cases are on the rise, the UK officials are considering a 10 pm curfew as an effort to reduce the spread of the virus.
According to Dugher, such a curfew would undoubtedly result in thousands of redundancies. In contrast, he outlined that the curfew would rather have “a negligible impact on the spread of COVID”. Dugher did not miss to say that UK casinos have introduced the “best in class safety measures” as well as a sophisticated track and trace systems, ensuring the protection of both players and employees.
Genting UK Boss Addressed His Concerns in a Letter to the UK Culture Secretary
Dugher also joined the Genting UK President and Chief Operating Officer Paul Wilcock in addressing a letter to the Culture Secretary Oliver Downden outlining that a curfew would be devastating for casinos in the country. Moreover, Dugher and Wilcock pointed out that some 50% or even 70% of the casinos’ business is conducted after 10 pm.
“To ensure the sector’s survival it is vital that any additional COVID social distancing measures, such as curfews, are not imposed on businesses that have demonstrated that they are COVID-secure and do not cater for the age group targeted by the measure,“reads the letter to the Culture Secretary
In their letter, Dugher and Wilcock also pointed out that the introduction of blanket measures such as curfews would undoubtedly result in thousands of redundancies over a short period. According to the letter, curfew measures are going to be nothing but devastating for the UK land-based casinos.
The UK casino industry employs approximately 14,000 people. But besides workplaces, the casinos also contribute significantly to the Treasury. Since 2017, the industry has paid approximately £1.3 billion ($1.7 billion) in gambling tax to the Treasury’s coffers. The gambling industry in the country is yet to start recovering from the devastating COVID-19 hit. With that in mind, we can only hope that the UK will soon shake off the pandemic so that affected industries can begin their recovery.