The Betting and Gaming Council has called the Scottish Government’s move to impose a midnight curfew on the country’s casinos “bizarre.”
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed Scotland’s transition to Level 0 COVID restrictions on July 19, announcing an unexpected development that will see all of Scotland’s hospitality venues, including casinos, close their doors at midnight.
The Betting and Gaming Council’s chief executive, Michael Dugher, said: “Scottish casino operators have once again had the rug pulled from under their feet by this bizarre decision.
“The casino industry has been forced to withstand a series of inexplicable decisions by politicians within the past year and is now coming to terms with yet another setback. The brutal truth is that a curfew is disastrous for casinos and we were under the impression that a move to level 0 would see the curfew finally removed next week, but that’s no longer the case.
“The goalposts have changed time and again, which is grossly unfair on the colleagues and operators who have worked so hard to make casinos COVID-safe.”
Devastating for casinos
The BGC stated that the move would be particularly “devastating for casinos,” citing the fact that more than half of the industry’s business occurs after 10 p.m., raising concerns about the uncertainty for the 700 men and women employed by Scotland’s casinos, as well as further reducing the £30 million in tax revenue paid to the Treasury.
Dugher continued: “Given that casinos do most of their business after 10pm, forcing them to close at midnight is economically self-harming and shows a complete misunderstanding of the casino industry.
“I would urge Nicola Sturgeon to re-think this decision as soon as possible, and remove the uncertainty she has placed over the hundreds of hardworking staff employed by Scottish casinos.”
Safer than other hospitality features
Despite an independent analysis released earlier this year by Dr Lisa Ackerley, a licenced environmental health practitioner, who stated that thanks to anti-COVID measures in place, casinos are “as safe, if not safer” than other hospitality facilities, the decision has been made.
Last Monday, the BGC praised the government’s decision to abolish the remaining COVID regulations in England, calling the move “good news for hospitality venues like casinos and their staff.”