BGC highlights UK casinos ‘community response’ under lockdown orders

The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) continues to pressure the government on delivering clarity to the UK casino sector and its workforce, following the disappointing news that casino venues will not be allowed to reopen this July.

Branded in the same category as nightclubs, England’s casino venues were told to remain in lockdown, and given no indication as to their future schedules – a decision that has wreaked havoc on a sector employing 14,000 staff.

This weekend, the BGC published a statement by Matt Rudd, the General Manager of the Grosvenor Casino in Broad Street, Birmingham, in which he described the real-life consequences facing venue management and effected staff.

“I’m the General Manager of our Grosvenor Broad Street casino in Birmingham and have worked here for the past six years. I’ve seen a lot of change in that time, but the past few months have been the most challenging of the lot. On top of that, the past few days and weeks have been among the most perplexing as I’ve watched other venues reopen their doors.” Rudd’s statement read.

Having placed 74 Broad Street staff on furlough, Rudd addressed the dire choices being made by casino venues managers across the land, seeking to mitigate the financial damages of the coronavirus pandemic.

Despite facing hardships, Rudd highlighted the community work undertaken by Grosvenor venues in supporting NHS frontline staff, emergency services and further vulnerable groups, providing and delivering hot meals through Rank Group’s arrangement with the Blue Light Card scheme.

“My casino is very much part of the local community; lockdown didn’t change that – it simply gave us a new way of showcasing our community values” Rudd stated. .

Working through unprecedented times, Rudd detailed overseeing a near four months of diligent work ensuring that his casino would be the safest venue for the general public on Broad Street.

During lockdown, Rudd and part-time colleagues would implement comprehensive changes to the casino layout and safety provisions, fitting social distancing measurements and signage, and the installation of Perspex dividers on gaming tables, slots and electronic roulette terminals.

Additional precautions saw Rudd install hand sanitisers across the venue, whilst training colleagues on further customer care procedures and cleaning standards to ensure his casino was ‘covid-secure’.

“I’ve taken the opportunity to look around what else is happening here in Birmingham and am delighted that we appear to have gone the extra distance to ensure that customers will receive the safest possible welcome and experience when we’re finally allowed to unlock our doors.”

“We love working here on Broad Street and we’re straining at the leash to get back to giving our customers a safe and enjoyable experience. I can’t escape the fact that by virtue of remaining closed, we’re delivering no tax receipts to the Government. We’re reliant on the furlough scheme and we’re not really contributing to the vibrancy of the local entertainment scene in this part of the city. That’s what we’re about and it is what we miss most.”

Rudd’s statement follows, the BGC publishing its open letter to Chancellor Rishi Sunak, stating that the Treasury could not afford to maintain a sector that contributed weekly tax revenues of £5.8 million in the sidelines, as the government plans its economic recovery.

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