UK Government must ‘act fast’ and extend furlough scheme

The latest developments in the UK brought yet another hard blow to the gambling industry. This led to the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) to demand from the government an extension of the furlough scheme for all employees across land based casinos. The reason for this is the huge impact of the latest government decision to postpone the opening of casinos across England for August.

The estimates are that the gambling industry suffered a staggering £14 million loss due to the delay for reopening the casinos. The BGC also points out that there is a significant risk that this decision will lead to the permanent loss of tourism and entertainment heritage.

According to Michael Dugher, the BGC Chief Executive “World famous and iconic venues like the Hippodrome and Les Ambassadeurs are not just part of our proud past, they want to be part of economic revival in the future. They are not looking for a handout – they are looking to help out. By reopening safely so they can play their part in contributing to getting the economy moving again and to contributing vital tax revenues to the Exchequer.”

The main problem is that casinos are targeted as non-safe environments, while local pubs and restaurants are open to the public and generating income. On the other hand, casinos have no way in attracting high spending customers due to closure.

This is why it’s crucial for the government to take necessary steps and help the gambling industry before it’s too late. The first logical step is to extend the furlough scheme and cover at least some part of the £14 million in losses the casinos are facing. This cost is a direct result of the two-week delay for reopening the casinos and the late decision.

The furlough extension is asked for UK casino employees, as gambling establishments are entering their sixth month of closed doors. The decision for the casinos to stay closed has a devastating impact on the economy and community generated by the venues.

Dugher also added that “Casino operators have done everything asked of them by Public Health England. They have gone to extraordinary lengths and cost to ensure their venues are Covid secure. They were rightly given the green light to reopen by public health officials who recognized the significant investment operators had made and the negligible risk they posed.”

The biggest risk for the decision to postpone the reopening of the casinos is for the employees. There are over 6,000 jobs at stake that can be permanently lost if the delays continue. The numbers are predicted to rise once the support from the government goes away and the casinos doors stay closed.

Blake Alexandrou from TheSlotsLad.com sheds more light to the current situation.

Casinos across the UK were scheduled to open on August 1st. The Public Health England (PHE) gave the green light, marking them as safe establishments. But the decision was reversed on July 31st by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, as the number of coronavirus cases began to grow.

Up until now it’s estimated that the casinos have invested over £6 million getting ready to reopen their doors to customers. The costs include investing in sanitization equipment, hygiene protocols, social distancing measures, Perspex screens and state of the art track and trace systems.

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