BGC: Treasury must face economic realities and allow casinos to reopen  

As UK businesses wait for Chancellor Rishi Sunak to issue his ‘summer statement’ tomorrow, the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has continued to pressure the government to reopen casinos this July.

Branded as a ‘critical mini-budget’, Sunak’s statement will underline vital business grants, industry subsidies and workforce schemes to help boost the UK’s economic recovery from COVID-19’s aftershocks.

Writing to the Chancellor Sunak, BGC Chief Executive Michael Dugher emphasised that UK casinos could no longer be kept in the dark with regards to their futures, having been denied the right to reopen on 4 July alongside other hospitality venues.  

This month, the government will also begin to wind-down its national furlough scheme as the UK economy attempts to kick-start its recovery from lockdown.

Highlighting that the decision would cost the Exchequer around £5 million per week by keeping 14,000 casino staff on furlough, Dugher said: “Casinos want to get back in business and once again contributing to the economy, not costing the Exchequer money. Last year, casinos paid over £5.7m million in tax per week.

“With phased reductions in wage support kicking in soon, there is however a real fear that if reopening doesn’t happen in July there will be severe damage caused to the casino industry.”

As previously communicated, the BGC stated that UK casino venues have proven their ability to maintain public health orders by introducing stringent social distancing and hygiene measures.

The BGC reminded the Treasury of the economic benefits of the Casino sector, which contributed nearly £4 million a week to the UK tourism, a vital factor as the government seeks a post-lockdown ‘bounce back’.

“To our knowledge, casinos have met all Covid safety requirements and yet they are still not permitted to open. We urgently ask for your help to get casinos reopened and back to contributing to the UK economy,” Dugher added. 

“We would greatly appreciate any help you can give to get our businesses back open and contributing to the UK economy.”

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