BGC: Casino industry “may never recover” from decision to further delay reopening

By Iqbal Johal

The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) believes the casino industry “may never recover” from the UK government’s decision to further delay the reopening of venues in England.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Friday that venues such as casinos were not allowed to resume operations the following day on 1 August, postponing the easing of such restrictions until at least 15 August.

After BGC CEO Michael Dugher called the decision “highly illogical” on Friday, the industry body has now claims the new delay will cost more than £5m ($6.5m) per week venues remain closed.

The BGC also mentioned the cost of preparing for the 1 August reopening was around £6m, and that 6,000 jobs the casino sector supports in the UK could be permanently lost as a result of the delay.

Dugher said: “The Government are swinging a wrecking ball right through the middle of our industry and large scale job losses, which ought to be unnecessary and avoidable, now look inevitable unless ministers act fast.

“The ongoing cost of remaining in a holding pattern to reopen is clearly not sustainable, with more jobs and livelihoods being put at risk with every last minute change and delay to reopening.

“We made the all necessary preparations for safe reopening and we were given the green light by Public Health England on the basis of the significant investment made by operators, and having been told by the Government themselves that casinos posed a ‘negligible’ risk compared with the tens of thousands of other places that have been reopened.”

On Friday, Rank Group CEO John O’Reilly told Gambling Insider that the casino sector could be in a “heap of trouble” if reopening plans are delayed beyond 15 August.

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