Casinos are “standing by” to help the UK’s economic recovery, but the Betting and Gaming Council must be allowed to resume the action once more by the end of July.
Continuing to press the government to reopen casinos this month, resorts were dealt a blow when they were told that they would not be able to return to operation while other sections of the hospitality, leisure and entertainment sector could do so on July 4th.
Closed as part of the national initiative to control COVID-19 spread since 23 March, a range of steps have since been introduced including perspex windows, hand sanitisers, advanced monitoring and tracing systems and strict social distancing laws.
The new appeal comes as Chancellor Rishi Sunak declares that businesses in the hospitality and tourism sector will benefit from a 20 percent to 5 percent cut in VAT until January 12.
Michael Dugher, the Betting and Gaming Council’s chief executive, welcomed the move, as well as Sunak’s £ 1,000 employee retention incentive for companies taking workers back off furlough.
It was asserted, however, that the next step by the government must be to let casinos reopen their doors and start contributing to the UK economy again.
Dugher declared: “We strongly welcomed the introduction of the furlough scheme in March, and the Chancellor’s decision to extend it until the end of October, as a lifeline for our members in the leisure, entertainment and hospitality industries and the tens of thousands of people they employ.
“The announcement of a £1,000 job retention bonus for every furloughed worker brought back and continuously employed through to January is therefore good news and will help our members as they navigate their way out of lockdown.
“The Chancellor’s decision to cut VAT for the hospitality and tourism sectors from 20 per cent to 5 per cent for the next six months will potentially be an enormous boost for bingo halls and casinos.
“However, in order to take advantage of this new policy, casinos must be given the green light to re-open as quickly as possible in July. At the moment, casinos are costing the Exchequer around £5m a week while they are closed. Last year, they paid £5.7m a week in tax.
“Casinos are part of our hospitality, leisure and entertainment industries, and they are also a significant attraction for tourists. They can reopen safely and it’s time now to let them do so. Casinos are standing by to reopen to aid the economic recovery.”