The UK government announced that casinos will be able to reopen from 1 August.
The UK government has announced that casinos in England will be able to reopen their doors to the public from 1 August.
The announcement was made on Friday (17 July) morning as Prime Minister Boris Johnson set out plans for the further easing of lockdown restrictions in England.
England’s casinos have been closed since mid-March as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. These venues remained closed despite other land-based gambling venues such as betting shop and bingo halls being allowed to reopen.
Betting shops in England reopened on 15 June while bingo halls resumed operation on 4 July.
BGC praises decision
The decision was praised by the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), which had been lobbying for casinos in the country to be allowed to reopen in July. In its lobbying efforts, the BGC has highlighted the economic contributions made by casinos, the jobs they provide and create as well as the safety measures being taken by operators.
BGC chief executive Michael Dugher said: “After four long months of lockdown, it’s fantastic to see casinos will reopen safely for business again on 1 August. I am delighted that they can now play their part in supporting the recovery of the tourism and hospitality sector.
“BGC casino members went the extra mile to meet strict Covid guidelines some weeks ago but were left in the dark as to when they would be allowed to reopen. I’d like to thank DCMS Secretary of State Oliver Dowden, Minister Nigel Hiddleston and the many cross-party MPs who supported us and worked hard to secure a reopening date.”
While England’s casinos will be able to reopen and see many of the 12,000 people employed by the casino sector return to work, it is unclear when venues in the devolved nations will be able to reopen.
BGC calls for Scotland and Wales to “show their hands”
Although the BGC praised the government decision, the industry body called on Wales and Scotland to “show their hands” and follow suit.
Dugher called on the governments in Scotland and Wales to announce plans for the reopening of their casino venues, explaining that that the temporary closures have left 2,000 employees unable to work.
Dugher added: “The uncertainty has been awful for the 12,000 people who work in casinos in England and we now call on Scottish and Welsh governments to follow suit and permit casinos to reopen without delay.
“The devolved administrations owe it to the 2,000 employees who work in Scottish and Welsh casinos to end this uncertainty and help them return to work.”