BGC warns a UK curfew could put “thousands” of casino jobs at risk

The BGC has warned that “thousands” of jobs would be put at risk if 10 pm curfews were implemented.

The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has warned that the implementation of a 10 pm curfew for casinos in Britain could put thousands of jobs in the UK casino industry at risk. 

According to reports, the UK government is considering implementing a 10 pm curfew for hospitality venues in order to limit the spread of the coronavirus and avoid a second wave. This comes after the government’s ban of gatherings of more than six people came into effect on Monday.

BGC warns jobs are at risk

In a letter addressed to Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden, BGC Chief Executive Michael Dugher and Paul Wilcock, the head of Genting UK described the measure as “drastic” and said that implementation of the curfew could lead to “thousands” of the UK’s 14,000 casino employees losing their jobs.

This comes after Genting UK announced that 1,642 jobs across its UK venues were at risk of redundancy due to the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic in July.

In the letter, Dugher and Wilcock wrote: “To ensure the sector’s survival it is vital that any additional Covid social distancing measures, such as curfews, are not imposed on businesses that have demonstrated that they are Covid-secure and do not cater for the age group targeted by the measure.

“The introduction of a blanket measure such as curfews would certainly result in many thousands of redundancies in a very short timeframe.  It is no exaggeration to state that it would devastate the UK land-based casino sector.”

Dugher went on to explain that a curfew could lead to many more casinos closing permanently. The BGC has previously warned that casinos could permanently close due to delays in reopening venues and “outdated” payment laws for customers from foreign countries, as well as permanent closures of betting shops if business rates relief systems were not extended.

Dugher suggests curfew may not limit virus spread

In the letter, Dugher and Wilcock added that a curfew for casinos would be unlikely to have a strong impact on limiting the spread of the coronavirus.

The letter read: “The conclusion to draw is that the impact of a casino curfew on Covid numbers would be negligible but the impact on our businesses would be catastrophic. To ensure the sector’s survival it is vital that any additional Covid social distancing measures, such as curfews, are not imposed on businesses that have demonstrated that they are Covid-secure and do not cater for the age group targeted by the measure.”

The letter cited the measures in place at casino venues as reasons why the spread of the virus in casinos should be low and noted that Public Health England and the Department for Health and Social Care said casinos were not “higher risk” in July.

Dugher said: “We support the need to act swiftly to protect public health, and thank the Government for the support they have given the UK’s casinos so far.

“However, a blanket 10 pm curfew on businesses would be catastrophic and force casinos to close once again – this time for good. It would certainly result in many thousands of redundancies, while having a negligible impact on the spread of Covid.

“Since reopening In August, casinos have been able to protect customers and staff through providing best in class safety measures, including sophisticated track and trace systems. Any new social distancing measures should be focused on the areas and age groups of the country at most risk, not just arbitrarily applied across the board.”

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