The casino industry in Scotland has joined forces to persuade the Scottish Government to amend its current tiering restrictions after weeks of closure and with hundreds of jobs at risk, forcing venues to remain closed.
Eleven casino locations in Scotland that sustain more than 700 workers in Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow have launched a petition urging their customers to write to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to allow the industry to rebound by enabling Level 2 casinos to open.
‘The Chips Are Down: Save Our Casinos, Save Our Jobs’ movement, led by Scotland’s largest casino operator, Grosvenor Casinos, and sponsored by Genting Casinos, Caesars Entertainment and the Betting and Gaming Council trade association, leads to the view that the casino industry is being unfairly singled out.
Although pubs, bars, restaurants and cinemas are able to continue to trade at Level 2 or below, when the Scotland Strategic Framework was revealed, the shutters dropped on casino venues, placing employment and livelihoods at risk.
Casinos emphasise the urgent need for the Scottish Government to remove the existing limitations imposed to allow Level 2 venues to open and ask the government to better consider the evidence that clearly points to ultra-safe venues for casinos.
Jonathon Swaine, Grosvenor Casinos Managing Director, said: “We cannot stress enough how damaging it is that casinos across Scotland are being imposed with these arbitrary restrictions. As an industry we provide ultra-safe venues for colleagues and customers to visit. There is not a shred of scientific evidence which supports the decision to keep casinos closed in Level 2 while other hospitality venues are able to stay open.
“If Scottish casinos are forced to remain closed it will have a devastating impact on those customers who enjoy their local venues as a community hub, on team members who will lose their jobs, on the local suppliers it serves, on the charities that they are proud to support, as well as on the wider economy which will lose millions of pounds in tax receipts.”
Since reopening in August, there has been only one confirmed case of coronavirus transmission inside any casino in Scotland out of 30,000 unique admissions through the doors, with 87 percent of casino customers saying they feel safe in a casino compared to other entertainment and hospitality venues.
Casino operators have spent millions of pounds to ensure that venues are safe for their peers and clients to play, installing PPE between gaming tables, ID scanning technology upon entry, hand sanitiser stations and social distance signage in venues, such as plexiglass displays.
The casino industry in Scotland contributed to the UK economy £ 30 million in tax a year but the continuing and unjustified closing of casinos in Scotland threatens to close their doors for good.
The Chief Executive of the Betting and Gaming Council, Michael Dugher, said: “Casinos in Scotland safely re-opened in August, with excellent anti-Covid measures in place, and there is absolutely no evidence that they contribute to the spread of virus.
“Closing them makes no sense, especially when other parts of the hospitality sector are being allowed to stay open. That’s why the industry is rallying together to urge the Scottish Government to think again, remove casinos from Level 2 and let them get back to business.”