The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has hit back at suggestions that casinos were similar to night clubs in terms of spreading coronavirus.
During a Facebook Live session, Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford likened casinos to nightclubs in risk profile, claiming that there was an ‘additional risk of coronavirus spreading’.
Responding to questions on potential casinos reopening, Drakeford said: “We are down to quite a small number of places now that we have not been able to reopen in Wales, and of course we will go on thinking about them and seeing if there’s anything we can do.
“But just as I described nightclubs as places that are generally dark and intimate, well casinos are the same aren’t they? You know, they are places where people are close to one another and where the atmosphere is part of the product that is on offer.
“The atmosphere is one in which there are additional risks of coronavirus spreading, so we will think carefully about casinos and the small number of other places that cannot reopen as part of the current three week review.”
Responding to the claims, the BGC has urged the First Minister and members of Public Health Wales to visit a local casino to see the measures that have been put in place to ensure that both visitors and staff remain safe.
In a letter to Drakeford, the BGC Chief Executive, Michael Dugher, noted his strong disagreement with the comparison calling it “neither true, nor fair” and highlighted the impact that the uncertainty was having on the staff employed across the four casinos in Wales.
He said: “Casinos are not remotely like nightclubs and have invested heavily to ensure that our venues are safe for both our colleagues and customers alike.
“Ensuring the safety of our staff and customers is paramount, and the extensive work undertaken by the sector to ensure that casinos are ready to re-open safely shows this.
“Our members have worked closely with public health bodies and been reassured that the measures in place, such as Perspex screens, sanitisation equipment, and sophisticated track and trace systems, as well as strong social distancing measures are excellent.
“The four casinos operating in Wales are ready and eager to re-open safely to the public and to play their part in re-building the economy.”