Casino venues in the UK capital have today offered to close bar facilities on the premises under new rules that may be introduced as part of a Covid-19 curfew, something that reportedly London Mayor Sadiq Khan is in favour of.
As part of the curfew, leisure and hospitality venues around London may be forced to close from 10pm onwards.
In response to the suggestions, managers and executives at casinos in London, have penned a letter to the London Mayor pointing out that such a move would be catastrophic for the industry and come with a huge risk to jobs and local communities.
According to reports, casinos earn up to 70% of their business revenue after 10pm.
At present, casinos have only been re-opened for a few weeks as the industry is currently in a recovery period following the Coronavirus shutdown, in which casinos introduced special safety measures to protect staff and patrons, including ‘Perspex screens, hand sanitisation stations, strict social distancing and best-in-class track and trace systems’.
The letter to London Mayor Sadiq Khan states:
‘By all means address the core issue of drinking rather than slamming a blanket curfew on our venues which would do nothing to suppress the spread of the virus but which would simply sound the death knell for jobs and for famous London casinos.
Closing our bars rather than our entire casinos would have a more limited impact on our revenues, would protect jobs, preserve the future of casinos and would retain tax receipts for the Treasury.’
In addition, Michael Dugher of the UK Betting and Gaming Council commented on the latest government guidance, curfew suggestions and the risk to jobs:
“However, it is no exaggeration to say that a blanket 10pm curfew would be devastating for a sector which does more than half of its business after that time and which is still struggling to get back on its feet following the first lockdown and the collapse of tourism.
The 10pm curfew just risks encouraging young people to mix in households, where there is no track and trace, and spreading the virus further and faster. But if the London Mayor or Government want to close pubs and restaurants at 10pm, we can do that in the casinos too, while continuing to provide a best-in-class Covid-secure environment. This might be a sensible compromise.
The alternative is the prospect of thousands of job losses – both in London and across the UK – and the permanent closure of some of the capital’s most iconic casinos that can help power our much-needed economic recovery.”