International edition
September 20, 2020

The BGC welcomed the “belated” reopening but said difficult days lie ahead for the industry

England's casinos greenlighted to reopen Saturday after 5 months

England's casinos greenlighted to reopen Saturday after 5 months
Casinos were set to reopen on August 1 in England, but the lifting of restrictions was put on hold for two weeks amid a spike in coronavirus cases at the time.
United Kingdom | 08/14/2020

The UK Government announced its plan set out in the ‘roadmap to recovery' easing lockdown restrictions, which was paused for two weeks, will resume from 15 August in England. The Scottish Government has set a provisional date of Aug. 24 for casino and bingo reopenings, and the BGC urged Scotland and Wales to "quickly follow suit."

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asinos will be allowed to reopen in England from Saturday, August 15 as the UK Government resumes its easing of lockdown restrictions.

Casinos were set to reopen on August 1 in England, along with bowling alleys and ice skating rinks, which are now also allowed to open, but the lifting of restrictions was put on hold for two weeks amid a spike in coronavirus cases at the time.

The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) said the announcement is “belated good news” and a “welcome relief” for the 12,000 employees working in the sector, but it added difficult times lie ahead for the industry after land-based casinos lost substantial amounts of money after five months of closure. “We regret that it has taken so long for staff to return to work – long after all manner of venues and activities, that don’t have anything like the anti-covid measures you will see in any casino, were reopened,” said Michael Dugher, Chief Executive of the BGC.

“Casinos are not yet out of the woods though. The last five months has left many casinos on the brink and the next few months will be particularly crucial to their recovery as the tourism, leisure and hospitality sector slowly gets back on its feet. This sector can play an important part in our national economic recovery and I hope ministers will continue to work closely with the industry to provide support through this difficult period. In return, casinos will continue to play their part in helping to revive our city centres and nighttime economy, as well as supporting the country through the £1 billion economic contribution it makes in direct and indirect Gross Value Added,” Dugher added.

Earlier this week, the BGC called for an extension of the furlough scheme to help offset the £14 million cost to the industry caused by the Government’s earlier u-turn.

“Our Grosvenor venues are ready to safely open and we are working hard to ensure we receive the support of Government to reopen our casinos soon,” said Rank Group CEO John O’Reilly, as reported by The Sun. “Our colleagues are very keen to get back to work to pick up the progress we had been making prior to lockdown.”

Each facility must operate strict guidelines which include social distancing and proper hygiene to stop the spread of the virus. Players who visit the casinos must use hand sanitiser upon entering, and visitors of the casino will also be asked to enter the building one at a time. Table capacity limits will be enforced, and face coverings will be provided to guests who request one. Slot machines will be cleaned after every use and ATMs will be sanitised every hour at a minimum.

Casinos in Scotland and Wales will remain closed for the time being, but Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has set a provisional date of August 24 for reopening casinos and bingo halls. “We continue to urge the Welsh Government to fully engage with the sector and seek the reassurances we can provide to bring about the safe reopening of casinos in Wales,” BGC CEO said.

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