The Betting and Gaming Council said that the additional COVID-19 restrictions which roll out tomorrow will be significantly harmful to the industry. Michael Dugher, BGC chief executive urged government officials for immediate financial help for the casino industry.
England Rolls Out New COVID-19 Restrictions Tomorrow
The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) shared its concerns regarding the newly announced COVID-19 restrictions in England. The restrictions, announced yesterday by Prime Minister Boris Johnson will come into effect tomorrow, September 24. Those restrictions aim to further reduce the spread of COVID-19 and are introducing a 10 PM daily curfew applicable for all entertainment venues, casinos included. Furthermore, fines will be introduced for any venues not complying with the new restrictions.
The planned restrictions currently apply only for England but according to the Prime Minister, the local governments in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales may take similar actions to further slow the spread of the respiratory disease COVID-19. And while Johnson outlined that the new restrictions may be in place up to six months, he did not rule out the possibility to roll additional restrictions if positive COVID-19 cases continue to increase.
According to the BGC, the restrictions which will be in effect from tomorrow will prove to be catastrophic for the casino industry. The council urged the government officials to create an economic package aiming at supporting the casino industry in the country during these unprecedented times.
A Death Knell for the Casino Industry
Commenting on the subject, the BGC chief executive Michael Dugher said that the new restrictions may be significantly harmful to the industry. “Boris Johnson may well have signalled the death knell for the casino industry by including them in the list of venues which will be forced to close their doors at 10pm,” said Dugher.
Moreover, he outlined that up to 70% of the trade of casinos is conducted after 10 pm. Previously, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS) argued that casinos must be exempt from the curfew and Dugher supported this option. The BGC chief executive predicted that a 10 pm curfew “will slash casino incomes by up to 75% and likely lead to half their workforce”. According to him, the curfew may lead to redundancies of some 7,000 people currently employed by the casino industry in the country.
Another important concern which Dugher outlined was that the businesses introduced many changes in order to “stay open in a COVID-compliant way”. He added that health officials have seen the sophisticated measures introduced by the British casinos upon their reopening last month. In conclusion, Dugher outlined that “immediate and substantial financial help” is needed for the casino industry. He also stressed that in the last three years, £1.3 billion in gambling tax was paid by the industry to the Treasury.