The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has written to the Welsh government urging a reconsideration of the conditions attached to its company relief scheme, which has excluded bookmakers and gambling firms from retail repayments.
BGC CEO Michael Dugher wrote to Welsh First Minister Rebecca Evans advising the government that more than 2,000 jobs would be put at risk unless its business support scheme was extended.
The Welsh Government has opted not to follow UK tradition, preventing bookmakers and gambling outlets from receiving discounts on retail rates – with betting shops forced to pay full rent during the lockdown period.
Dugher wrote: “Without assistance with business rates relief, similar to that offered to other sectors in Wales, including other parts of the hospitality, leisure and entertainment industries, there is a real danger that betting shops and casinos will permanently close leading to the direct loss of over 2000 jobs in Wales.
“We represent the regulated betting and gaming industry and as a body are committed to driving up standards across the sector.”
The BGC reminded the government of the 300 betting shops and four casinos operating across Wales, ‘all of which face financial ruin unless the government steps in’.
The council also reminded Senedd Cymru of the detrimental knock-on impact gambling bans would have on the Welsh hospitality, retail, and leisure sectors.
Dugher added: “Betting shops, bingo halls and casinos in England were thrown a lifeline when the UK Government announced it was extending its business rates relief scheme to cover their premises as well, recognising the contribution they make to the economy, to sport and the vital part they are playing in the national effort and in communities to cope with the virus.
“I don’t for a single second think that the Welsh Government is saying that 2,000 workers in Wales who are employed in the regulated betting industry are less worthy of the support they get in England, but we urgently need a re-think on rates. These 2,000 jobs are hardworking men and women with bills to pay and families to care for. Their jobs are worth every bit as much as someone doing the same job in England.”