UK casinos, already severely impacted by the initial Covid-19 lockdown, which applied to many businesses with the gaming and hospitality industries, have offered to stop selling alcohol in their venues in a last ditch attempt to avoid another lockdown closure.
Reportedly, another closure for the industry would be catastrophic and could lead to thousands of workers in the UK losing their jobs.
Casinos in the United Kingdom employ a total of around fourteen-thousand staff and have raised £1.3 billion for HM Treasury in the last three years alone and bosses at the properties are worried of the damage another closure could do.
If casinos are forced to close their doors again, not only will employees potentially lose their jobs, but businesses may be forced to close permanently.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is poised to announce a new set of Coronavirus lockdown measures starting next week that is expected to see the introduction of a new three-tier local lockdown system.
In turn this means that hospitality companies, such as casinos, many of which are leading brands on the high street, such as Genting and Grosvenor, could be forced to closed completely for many weeks as part of a Covid-19 infection rate drive down.
The alcohol ban proposal comes after First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon announced the closure of hospitality venues in major cities such as Glasgow and Edinburgh.
Many casinos in England and Wales are still suffering the impact of the Covid-19 closures and executives have spoken out about how disastrous the decision could be for the sector.
According to reports, casino revenues are down by as much as seventy percent compared with the same period last year, having only reopened for business in August 2020.
Chief executive of the Betting and Gaming Council Michael Dugher spoke out about the proposal and how important it is for the industry that venues remain open:
“Casinos have already proved, thanks to their world class track and trace systems, the use of Perspex screens, hand sanitisers and strict social distancing rules, that they are Covid-secure according to Public Health England.
There are relatively few casinos, we know that their impact on Covid is negligible and they have in fact operated perfectly safely since re-opening in August.
There are no public health grounds to order their closure now.
Ministers need to understand that casinos are not pseudo-nightclubs or places where young people go to drink.
Nevertheless, they are willing to reduce their risk levels even further by refusing to serve alcohol, which the Government seems to think is another factor in the spread of the virus.
In light of all of this, I would urge ministers to be reasonable and allow casinos to remain safely open and continue to play their part in raising desperately-needed tax revenues for the Treasury, whilst also stopping the spread of the coronavirus.”