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BGC calls on UK government to accelerate casino reopening plans

The Betting and Gaming Council has demanded that the UK government speeds up its plans for reopening casinos.

The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) Is continuing its campaign urging the UK government to allow land-based casinos to reopen from July by highlighting the safety measures being taken by operators.

Yesterday (30 June) the BGC revealed it visited the Rank-owned Rialto Casino in London to highlight the steps taken by land-based casino operators.

UK casinos remain closed despite easing of measures

Betting shops in England and Northern Ireland were permitted to reopen from 15 June after being forced to temporarily close their doors due to coronavirus pandemic. In mid-June, it was announced that hospitality venues such as hotels, pubs and restaurants would be allowed to reopen on 4 July.

However, casinos were left out of the list of hospitality and leisure businesses that would be allowed to reopen. After the announcement was made, the BGC slammed the government’s decision, calling it “inconsistent and nonsensical.”

The BGC’s chief executive Michael Dugher said the industry standards body was “obviously disappointed” by the government’s decision and urged ministers to look at the efforts being taken by operators to keep customers safe.

Dugher said: “We want to play our part in kick starting the economy, just like other parts of the leisure, entertainment and hospitality industry. In this time of great economic uncertainty, the contribution that casinos make to the nation’s finances cannot be under-estimated. We hope that the Government will respond positively and quickly – and avoid the threat of significant job losses”.

Safety measures at UK casinos

The BGC highlighted that the UK’s 120 casinos have introduced strict health and safety measures which include the mandatory sanitising of seats, table areas and chips both before and after use.

Customers at casinos are limited to playing at a single table and must sanitise their hands before and after play. When playing a table game, customers are prohibited from circulating and the venues can provide masks upon request.

Dugher said: “I was hugely impressed by what I saw at the Rialto Casino, one of the Grosvenor casinos. From markings urging social distancing on the floor, to multiple hand sanitisers, sanitised chips and screens separating customers and staff, it’s obvious they have pulled out all the stops to make sure they can re-open safely.

“I know other operators from across the country are making similar efforts and investment.”

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