The Welsh Government has given casinos the go-ahead to re-open from next week, a decision welcomed by the Betting and Gaming Council as “the right move.”
Mark Drakeford, First Minister of Wales, said that the venues would be able to return to business from 29 August following the COVID-19 shutdown, after the BGC criticised him for likening “casinos to nightclubs in risk profile for the spreading of coronavirus.”
The announcement comes after Nicola Sturgeon announced that on August 24 Scottish casinos will again be opening their doors, with establishments across England having won the right to reopen from August 15.
A variety of initiatives have been implemented by the venues to ensure the health of returning staff and customers, including perspex signs, monitoring and trace systems and strict social distance laws.
Wales has four casinos, the Cardiff Les Croupiers Casino, the Swansea Grosvenor Casino, the Cardiff Grosvenor G Casino, and the Cardiff Rainbow Casino which employs around 300 people.
BGC chief executive Michael Dugher said of the announcement: “I warmly welcome this announcement by Mark Drakeford, which is the right move and a tremendous boost for the hundreds of men and women who work in Welsh casinos, as well as their customers.
“The Welsh Government has listened to the concerns of our members and responded to the tremendous efforts they have made to ensure they can re-open safely.
“It’s great news that casinos across Great Britain are now able to open their doors and make a vital contribution to the country’s economic recovery.”
Among them, the 125 casinos in the UK hire 14,000 people and contributed about £300 m a year to the Treasury before the Covid-19 lockdown.
Our preparations for reopening are almost complete. It would be great if @WelshGovernment @MarkDrakeford @vaughangething @KenSkatesMS @JulieMorganLAB @PublicHealthW could finally acknowledge the difference between a casino and a nightclub and look at our efforts… pic.twitter.com/UdMfD1cYsn
— LesCroupiers Cardiff (@LesCroupiers) August 8, 2020