Chancellor Rishi Sunak was urged to announce a key government rescue plan to save thousands of jobs in the land-based casino industry in the UK, which the Betting and Gaming Council says “has been put at risk by the COVID curfew.”
As a result of the closure, it is estimated that a total of 14,000 jobs are at risk, which causes hospitality and leisure venues to close their doors at 10 pm.
A further appeal was made ahead of an anticipated address by Sunak later today, following the BGC calling on the government to “throw the industry a lifeline.”
In a statement to MPs, the chancellor is expected to set out his intentions, and casinos have emphasised that because up to 70 percent of their trade is carried out between the hours impacted by the mandated closures, the shutdown would affect them uniquely.
In addition, gaming establishments also highlight that senior officials of Public Health England have accepted that their anti-COVID programmes “are excellent,” including Perspex screens and track and trace systems.
Executives have urged Sunak to unveil a further set of steps in advance of his Commons announcement to keep them in business until the pandemic is over. They also called for an extension of the Job Retention Scheme as a first step, which is set to end on 31 October.
In addition, such taxpayer-backed measures can also be seen as a way to keep companies alive and contribute to the Treasury as it aims to restore the British economy, they argue.
Michael Dugher, Betting and Gaming Council chief executive, commented: “Casinos have demonstrated that they are COVID-secure, and yet are being ordered to close their doors at 10pm.
“This is an illogical and disproportionate decision which puts thousands of jobs at risk. The chancellor must implement an urgent economic package which enables casinos to stay open and protect jobs so that, when the pandemic is over, they can play their part in getting the British economy back on its feet.”