The Betting and Gaming Council urged Chancellor Rishi Sunak ’emergency help to save thousands of jobs’ following Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s call on Britons Monday to avoid all non-essential communications.
The PM’s recommendations called on the public to avoid social events and crowded areas like bars, clubs and theatres, and to propose that anyone who can work from home should do so.
In the face of the continuing spread of COVID-19, as an immediate uproar has been given by venue owners at Johnson for not demanding closures, with insurance concerns cited, the standards body is appealing for support in the casino, gaming, bingo and other sports, hospitality and entertainment sectors.
Emphasising the BGC’s urgent priority of emergency assistance with regard to job costs, time to pay on Pay As You Earn and National Insurance Contributions, as well as emphasising that business rate relief and time to pay duties and corporate tax’ will also be implemented.’
The call came as the Chancellor prepared to join Johnson in his daily press conference on Tuesday, with national media outlets stating that work has started on a large new rescue fund for distressed companies.
The BGC estimates that customer rates in some casino establishments have fallen by as much as 90 percent, with betting shops seeing a fall of up to 60 percent in sports betting alone as major events are grinding to a halt.
BGC chief executive Michael Dugher explained: “We face an unprecedented challenge to keep both customers and staff safe during the COVID-19 health crisis.
“Like all other parts of the hospitality, leisure and entertainment industries, the immediate priority for the future of our members in the casino, bingo and betting industry is the ability to pay staff.
“We urgently need temporary government support to help cover payroll costs, relief and time to pay duties and taxes, as well as access to finance. Treasury in particular need to step up and understand that insurance simply doesn’t cover the impact of a pandemic.
“We are speaking with the Government to ensure they are fully aware of the crisis facing our members and discussing the steps necessary to help the leisure industry and their staff through this incredibly challenging period.
“This is a national emergency. The Government’s public health response has to be matched in scale by emergency help for businesses and employees. The Treasury cannot let people in the hospitality, leisure and entertainment hang out to dry.”