English casinos to stay closed after reopening delayed

Simona Boshkova | Published 4 Aug 2020, 9:29 a.m.

During a meeting on Friday 31st, the UK Prime Minister announced that the reopening of English casinos will be delayed until the middle of August. The country’s casinos were meant to open from 1 August but it’s up to see when they will reopen. The decision of postponing the casinos reopening came after the UK Government proposed new restrictions in some parts across the country.

English casinos have been closed since March and they still are despite the fact that other land-based venues such as bingo halls are allowed to operate since last month. The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) warned the UK Government that its decision to delay the reopening of English casinos could lead to 6,000 people losing their jobs.

UK casinos won’t reopen until August 15 at the earliest

After being closed in March, casinos in England were set to reopen at the beginning of this month. However, the UK Government decided to delay the casinos reopening, after they postponed the further easing of certain lockdown measures. 

Casinos in England have been approved to reopen after making significant measures to ensure that they could operate safely, and the industry spent £6m to equip venues and to provide training for the staff. However, the UK Government made a u-turn and ordered casinos to remain closed, along with more indoor venues including cinemas and bowling alleys.

Furthermore, planned trials of sports events with fans in attendance will also be delayed until the middle of this month at the earliest. At a press conference, the UK Prime Minister said that the postponement of the English casinos was necessary and that the Government cannot take the risk of opening them at the moment. He added that they will continue to study the data carefully and will move forward with the intention of casinos reopening as soon as they can.

BGC CEO called the Government’s decision ‘highly illogical’

Michael Dugher, CEO of the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), believes that the casino industry won’t recover from the UK Government’s decision to delay the casinos reopening in England. He called the decision ‘highly illogical’ and said that the new delay could lead to 6,000 people losing their jobs.

Dugher expressed his concerns in a letter to Chancellor Rishi Sunak, explaining that for every week that casinos stay closed, the industry will lose over £5m. He further said that casinos have invested to ensure that they can operate safely and want to get back in business and contribute to the economy. Moreover, Dugher compared the Government’s decision to ‘swinging a wrecking ball right through the middle of the industry’, leading to job losses which can be avoidable.

In the letter, Dugher added that the Betting and Gaming Council made all necessary preparations for safe reopening and that they were given green light by Public Health England. According to him, the last-minute delay puts thousands of jobs and livelihoods at risk. In the end, with BGC making proper preparations for reopening, Dugher called on the Government to permit casinos to reopen.

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