DCMS confirmed that UK ‘adult gaming centres’ (AGCs) operators in England will not be permitted to reopen their venues as expected on Monday, June 15.
Identified as retail venues, UK arcades were expected to reopen from the beginning of next week along with betting shop equivalents, a decision previously announced by the government on the weekend of May 23.
However, yesterday evening DCMS announced that restaurants, hotels, entertainment venues and casinos had been reclassified as leisure premises, pushing back their business reopening timetable to July 4.
DCMS stated that the decision was taken as gaming centres were unable to comply with the social distancing rules enforced on retail companies.
The decision of the government was met with an immediate uproar from industry stakeholders who argue that a further delay would cost the arcade sector millions in lost sales and need to expand furlough programmes for employees.
John White, CEO of the British arcade trade association BACTA, lambasted the DCMS ruling, saying that it contained ‘no logic’ and that it did not take into consideration the implications that business owners face.
“Bacta is calling for every member to act immediately by phoning and emailing any political contact that they have whether MP or local councillor, to tell the Prime Minister that he has made a serious mistake and he must reverse this outrageous decision,” White urged.
Bacta has pushed the department to explain its position to the members in response to the DCMS acts.
As imprecise as it makes no distinction between adult gaming centres (AGCs) and family entertainment centres (FECs), the association also referred to the term ‘amusement arcades,’ as used by the government’s ‘schedule 2’ Coronavirus Response Act.
White added: “Operators have made significant investments to prepare for Monday’s reopening and this news will be a huge financial cost to them. Staff have been taken off furlough in readiness and machines have been refloated. Comprehensive social distancing and public hygiene measures have been developed and rolled out in accordance with Government and Sector guidance in all AGCs.”