Genting, one of the largest gaming companies in the UK, plans to cut 1,642 jobs at clubs and hotels across the country due to the Covid-19 pandemic effects.
While pubs, restaurants, shops and even bookmakers in England have been allowed to open as coronavirus lockdown restrictions eased, casinos remain among the businesses not permitted to do so.
Genting told staff at 27 of its venues that it intended to cut costs by shutting down services, including poker games and hospitality, as reported by The Guardian. In documents sent to staff, it blamed the “impact of Covid-19 resulting in temporary closure of business and reduced trading hours and changes to operating model”.
It will permanently close casinos in Margate, Torquay and Bristol, while other sites face job reductions, with some venues proposing to shed more than half of their employees. Genting’s cuts will affect staff at clubs across the country, including in London, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Blackpool and Birmingham.
“This announcement by the company is nothing short of outrageous,” said Mick Rix, a GMB union national officer. “It’s a serious slap in the face to loyal and long serving staff – as well as UK public. Taxpayers’ cash has funded Genting to the tune of millions of pounds during lockdown: now they are making people redundant rather that contribute towards the government furlough scheme from the end of August.”
In an emailed statement to Yogonet Thursday, Genting said: "Like all businesses across the leisure and hospitality sector, we have faced unprecedented challenges and heavy losses over the past few months as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Despite the ongoing uncertainty in relation to when we may be able to open our doors again, we are continuing to prepare for our re-opening - albeit with significant changes being implemented to our physical premises and to our operating model. In light of these changes, we are having to make some heart-breaking decisions about the future of the business and it is with huge regret that job losses are simply unavoidable."
The cuts come amid uncertainty in the casino industry about when it will be able to resume operations. Michael Dugher, the chief executive of industry body the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), wrote to the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, this month, urging him to include casinos in plans to lift lockdown restrictions.
“The UK casino sector were sorely disappointed not to be included in the list of industries allowed to reopen on 4 July,” he wrote. Dugher said government support for closed casinos to retain staff was costing the Treasury £5m a week, adding: “Casinos want to get back in business and once again contributing to the economy, not costing the Exchequer money. With phased reductions in wage support kicking in soon, there is however a real fear that if reopening doesn’t happen in July there will be severe damage caused to the casino industry.”