Casino and racing industries react to new UK pandemic restrictions

By Violeta Prockyte

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced renewed restrictions to battle the coronavirus pandemic, including closing bars, restaurants and casinos after 10pm.

The new restrictions could last up to six months and the gaming sector is anticipating massive job losses. Michael Dugher, CEO of the Betting and Gaming Council, said the curfew will likely cut casino income by 75% and “some 7,000 people” will be made redundant.

Previously, casinos offered to close their bars at 10pm to keep the rest of their venues operational, since 70% of casinos “do their trade after 10pm”.

Dugher said: “Boris Johnson may well have signalled the death knell for the casino industry.”

He also added that “without immediate and substantial financial help from the Government, perfectly viable casinos – which between them paid £1.3bn ($1.66bn) in tax to the Treasury in the last three years – will simply go to the wall.”

Casinos are not the only business to suffer from the curfew.

Indeed, the plan to gradually allow fans into stadiums to watch live sporting events was halted and the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) stated: “The delay to the public’s return to sporting events is a serious blow to the horse racing industry and to the people and communities who depend upon it for their living.”

Racecourses are “facing a loss of £250 to £300m of revenues this year.”

BHA CEO Nick Rust said: “We are working to a recovery plan, but today’s announcement will set back our progress.”

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