he decision of an enforced curfew for all of Scotland’s hospitality venues comes despite an independent report issued earlier this year by Dr. Lisa Ackerley, a chartered environmental health practitioner who remarked that casinos were “as safe, if not safer” than other hospitality venues, given the correct implementation of anti-covid guidelines.
In sight of these new impositions, all venues, including casinos, must be closed by midnight. This represents a problem for the local industry as more than half their trade is done after 10 pm, according to the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC).
The uncertain panorama affects employees, which account for 700 men and women currently working at Scotland’s casinos, as well as further denting the £30 million a year they pay in tax to the Treasury.
BGC CEO Michael Dugher said that Scottish casino operators “have once again had the rug pulled from under their feet”, and called this measure a “bizarre decision”.
“The casino industry has been forced to withstand a series of inexplicable decisions by politicians within the past year and is now coming to terms with yet another setback”, reflected Dugher. “The brutal truth is that a curfew is disastrous for casinos and we were under the impression that a move to level 0 would see the curfew finally removed next week, but that’s no longer the case”.
He also pointed out that, given that casinos do most of their business after 10 pm, “forcing them to close at midnight is economically self-harming and shows a complete misunderstanding of the casino industry”.
Dugher urged Nicola Sturgeon to “re-think this decision as soon as possible, and remove the uncertainty she has placed over the hundreds of hardworking staff employed by casinos”.