Casino Industry at Risk as UK Government Measures Fall Short

While UK casinos and cardrooms are still deciding whether or not to shut in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, the UK government are being urged not to let people in hospitality, leisure, and entertainment hang out to dry.

By: Andrew Burnett

The UK are lagging behind almost every nation in their response to the global virus, and the gambling and gaming world is at serious risk, says Michael Dugher, chief executive of the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC).

“Casinos face an immediate crisis as customer levels drop by up to 90% as tourism grinds to a halt, with real fears for thousands of staff and entire businesses,” explained Dugher in a press release.

The UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, this week announced a £350billion package of help for the business sector, which includes 100% business rates relief for 12 months.

However, there are fears that gambling and gaming companies may suffer more than other sectors.

“This could be the end of the industry as we know it,” Dan Waugh from the specialist gambling research firm Regulus Partners told the Financial Times.

“If, due to loans, the government owns most of the gambling industry it may not let it go back to the way it was.”

London could be the first UK area to be hit by government lockdown measures.

Last week it was described as “a city of super-spreaders” by officials, and the UK government is reported to be ‘drawing up sweeping plans to enforce the emergency closure of restaurants, bars, pubs and cinemas in the city’. Casinos are also likely to be caught up in this net.

These plans would also ‘restrict the use of public transport to only essential "key workers”.'

Several casinos in the UK have closed on their own account, Rob Yong’s Dusk Till Dawn promising to pay staff during their closure.

Others, however, have been open for business as usual, despite the growing number of infected and dead from the COVID-19 disease caused by the coronavirus.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s approach to the crisis has been slated worldwide, and the BGC’s Dugher is worried that his industry members will feel some of the worst financial effects.

“This is a national emergency. The Treasury cannot let people in hospitality, leisure, and entertainment hang out to dry,” he stated.


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