Communicating on behalf of its members, the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has declared that England’s casinos will be ready to reopen and service the public safely from 4 July.
As part of the government’s ‘stage 3’ arrangement of lockdown easings, hospitality and leisure businesses across England will be allowed to reopen from 4 July, providing that they adhere to strict social distancing orders and hygiene commands.
The reopening of leisure and hospitality venues has been deemed by health experts as the toughest easing procedure to monitor safety, as the UK looks to avoid a second wave of infections.
Michael Dugher, the BGC’s chief executive, said: “Nothing is more important to the casino sector than the safety of staff and customers. I know that the casino operators have been working tirelessly to ensure that when they do reopen for business again, every possible measure will be in place to ensure the health and safety of everyone who enters the premises.”
The BGC underlined that all UK casinos have committed to enforcing stringent measures put in place at venues ensuring the safety of staff and customers.
Entry to casinos will also be limited to one person at a time, with venues enforcing a two-metre social distancing policy on outside queues.
Furthermore, all customers will be required to use hand sanitisers before entry and when joining or leaving a gambling table.
In-venue requirements will see table capacities limited, with gaming machines cleaned after each session, in addition to ATMs being sanitised every hour.
Each casino will be required to implement a venue floor layout for patrons to obey social distancing measures at all times. Protecting staff, casino venues have been ordered to provide plexiglass screens wherever possible.
The BGC added that ‘trained staff’ will be on hand to promote safer gambling for customers returning to venues.
Despite the government easing lockdown orders, the BGC emphasised that a number of high-end casinos will not return to business as the pandemic has disrupted the majority of its overseas clientele.
BGC casino members are awaiting vital developments on travel restriction easing before the sector can resemble normal trading conditions.
Closing its statement, the BGC reminded MPs that the casino sector contributes more than £300m a year to the UK Exchequer, while also employing nearly 13,000 people
The statement added: “Casinos make a significant contribution to the economy, including through taxation and employment, as part of the leisure, hospitality, entertainment and tourism sectors.
“They have also played a hugely important role, not just in the national effort to combat covid-19 by keeping their doors shut since March, but also through their support for communities – for example with the provision of food from their kitchens and the use of their venues.
“It is welcome that they are in line to reopen again from 4 July, but the message to the government now is that they are ready, willing and able to open safely.
“We know that the casino sector faces some very tough times ahead and the threat posed by covid to many businesses won’t go away quickly. That’s why we would also urge the Government to continue to be flexible in their approach to the hospitality and leisure industry as its furlough scheme is wound down.
“Even though they will be ready to open their doors on 4 July, casinos will still be forced to operate at a reduced capacity for some time to come because of the need to maintain social distancing. We would urge the Chancellor to keep being flexible and continue providing support as the country emerges from the pandemic.”