Following an academic report into the venues’ anti-COVID policies, Grosvenor Casinos recommends that casinos in Scotland be permitted to open and that the sector be handled equally and fairly.
According to the report, which was led by Dr Lisa Ackerley, the facilities should be able to reopen safely alongside other hospitality venues once restrictions in Scotland are removed, since they are “as safe, if not safer” places to visit than pubs and restaurants.
Scottish Government’s proposal
Casinos would only be able to reopen in level one locations under the Scottish Government’s proposed proposals, although other hospitality venues such as bars and restaurants would be allowed to do so in level two.
Following the publication of the study, which is based on data from an impartial assessment conducted by Food Alert in venues such as Grosvenor Casino’s Edinburgh Maybury and Glasgow Merchant City, the group is pushing for a rethink to avert the loss of hundreds of jobs.
Objective, scientific evidence
Grosvenor Casinos’ managing director, Jonathon Swaine, explained: “Dr Ackerley’s findings provide objective, scientific evidence that casinos have been treated unfairly and the time has come for the correction to be made. It clearly concludes that forcing casinos to remain closed in level two regions, whilst other hospitality businesses can open, is absurd.
“Her report reinforces the commitment and investment taken by an already highly regulated casino industry to leave no stone unturned when it comes to making our venues safe and secure for all of our colleagues and customers.
‘Industry deserves to be treated with parity and fairness’
“We’re now appealing to the First Minister and the Scottish Government to pay heed to this compelling evidence. When parts of the country return to level two status, casinos must be allowed to open and the industry deserves to be treated with parity and fairness. All we ask is for an equitable approach to hospitality, based on the highest quality evidence that exists.”
According to the paper, casinos should not be viewed differently from the rest of the hospitality industry, which has generally been able to stay open in level two under the new Scottish strategic structure, such as bars, restaurants, and cinemas.
“The casino industry has responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by embracing the need to implement a full range of stringent measures to keep staff and customers safe,” said Dr. Ackerley, a Chartered Environmental Health Practitioner.
“In my opinion, this industry’s response has resulted in it being as safe, if not safer, during the pandemic than many others, for example some other parts of the hospitality sector, where socialising and alcohol consumption is the norm.
“I find that there is no reason for the casino industry to be treated more harshly in terms of lockdown measures than the rest of hospitality; in fact, it can be seen that the measures taken by casinos actually offer more protection to staff and the public. There seems no logical or scientific reason why the casino industry should be closed where pubs and restaurants are allowed to open in Scotland.”
The Betting and Gaming Council’s chief executive, Michael Dugher, added: “Ordering the closure of casinos in level two areas in Scotland was a needless blow for the 700 hardworking men and women that they employ.
“Despite repeated invitations, it is regrettable that no Scottish Government official has even visited any of our members’ casinos to see for themselves the excellent anti-COVID measures which they have put in place.
“As Dr Ackerley’s report confirms, casinos are as safe, if not safer, than many other hospitality venues, such as pubs and restaurants, so why are they being treated differently? In England, casinos will be rightly safely reopened when the rest of the hospitality is.
“It is not too late for the Scottish Government to think again, follow the evidence and allow casinos to safely re-open in level two.”