Casinos have remained shut in England since late-March as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, but they were expected to open on 1 August.
In a sudden U-turn however, the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson decided to “squeeze the breaks” on the country’s reopening plans. A day prior to the planned restart, the casino reopening date was pushed back for at least two weeks.
Now, the UK Government has announced that those reopening plans will go ahead at the weekend, with casinos among the list of businesses able to open their doors for the first time in months.
In reaction to the news, the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has released a statement welcoming the “belated” reopenings as a “welcome relief” for the industry’s employees.
The BGC previously stated that the casino industry “may never recover” from the decision to further delay reopening, estimating that the delay would cost more than £5m ($6.5m) per week for closed venues.
Despite now being permitted to reopen, BGC CEO Michael Dugher believes that casinos are “not yet out of the woods though.” He has urged the Government to provide support to the sector, including calls for an extension of the furlough scheme.
Dugher has also pushed the Welsh and Scottish Governments to follow suit in allowing their casinos to reopen.