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BGC Chief Exec welcomes lifting of “crippling” Covid-19 restrictions

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced that social distancing restrictions will be lifted on 19 July, meaning casinos and betting shops will no longer have to adhere to social distancing or the compulsory wearing of facemasks.  

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BGC Chief Executive, Michael Dugher, has celebrated the news: “We strongly welcome the Government’s intention to remove the remaining Covid restrictions on July 19, which will provide a much-needed boost to the economy. 

“It is particularly good news for hospitality venues like casinos and their staff, as the businesses have had to endure many, many months of closure and crippling restrictions.” 

According to an Ernst and Young study, casinos in the UK directly employ 11,600 people and prior to the pandemic, they contributed £500m ($692.5m) a year to the Treasury in tax.  

Dugher added: “Throughout the pandemic, casinos have spent millions of pounds on best-in-class anti-Covid measures and will continue to ensure their venues are as safe as possible, for customers and staff once the remaining restrictions are lifted.” 

Although the lifting of safety measures is positive news, Dugher has urged ministers to also ease restrictions on travel to help kickstart the tourism industry.  

Casinos in London contribute £120m to the city’s tourism sector, therefore, Dugher feels the return of foreign travellers will be a huge bonus.  

However, he feels the current announcement is sufficient enough and casinos will look forward to playing their part in the UK’s post-pandemic economic recovery.  

In addition, the BGC exec is also pleased to hear capacity crowds will be able to return to race meetings and other sporting events.  

Dugher said: "This is great news for the much-loved sports that the regulated betting industry helps sustain: from racing, football, rugby league, snooker and darts. The absence of crowds has been a bitter blow and I can’t wait to see venues safely operating at full capacity once again.”

Critics, however, will argue that a complete easing of restrictions could be counterproductive if there is a subsequent rise in cases – although this kind of counterargument will always be an inevitability during the pandemic.

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