BGC publishes “Non-remote casinos – Compliance with Covid-19 Secure Guidelines”

Following on from its 3 June 2020 announcement that English casinos were set to re-open for business on 4 July 2020, the Betting and Gaming Council has published “Non-Remote Casinos – Compliance with Covid-19 Secure Guidelines”.

The Guidelines (that can be downloaded in full below) include the following measures:

  1. Entry to a casino to be limited to one person at a time,
  2. Queue markers, signage, a capacity limit and, where required, one-way systems to maintain and promote social distancing requirements throughout the premises (including in specific zones such as smoking areas, lifts, toilets),
  3. Availability of face coverings for customers, who must use hand sanitisers (a) before entering a casino and (b) when joining or leaving a gaming table (with sanitisation solutions being provided throughout all parts of the casino),
  4. Gaming floor layouts and gaming machine positions to be reviewed (with tables/machines closed, plexiglass screens or sneeze guards installed when required) to ensure social distancing requirements are adhered to,
  5. Enforcement of table capacity limits to a maximum of three players per standard roulette, blackjack and three-card poker tables (with casino chips being regularly cleaned and sanitised),
  6. Customers to be encouraged to avoid touching cards (with the dealer handling cards and dealing them face up where possible to minimise touching),
  7. Contact during payments and exchange of documentation to be minimised and contactless/electronic payment methods to be used where possible and allowed by law,
  8. Regular sanitisation of objects and surfaces, including table areas, gaming machines, cards and chips (including, in the case of machines, after each play session),
  9. Voucher redemption terminals and ATMs to be sanitised at least once an hour,
  10. Utilisation of table service in restaurant and bar areas (that will be reconfigured to allow for social distancing),
  11. Enhanced customer interactions to promote safer gambling for returning customers,
  12. Specific staff training (and risk-assessments of staff roles) in relation to hygiene and social distancing guidance,
  13. Where possible, reconfiguration of seating and circulation in staffrooms and canteen areas, with shift pattern changes to reduce, wherever possible, the number of colleagues that come into contact with each other, and
  14. Specific risk assessments for events that are likely to draw a large crowd.

The BGC Guidelines also follow on from publication on 12 June 2020 by the Gambling Commission of its information for gambling operators re-opening land-based gambling premises.

UPDATES:

1. Wholly unexpectedly, on 23 June 2020 it became clear from a Prime Ministerial Statement to the House of Commons on COVID-19 that English casinos are not to be permitted to re-open on 4 July 2020, as reported by us here.

2. It was previously confirmed by the BGC that Paul Willcock (Chair of the BGC’s Land-Based Casino Group and COO of Genting UK) has written to London Mayor Sadiq Khan protesting about plans to (a) increase the cost of London’s congestion charge and (b) extend it until 10pm seven days a week, with effect from 22 June 2020. The BGC’s website reports as follows:

Sadiq Khan warned of ‘tax on workers’ over congestion charge extension

Casino bosses have warned London mayor Sadiq Khan that plans to extend the capital’s congestion charge will be a “tax on workers” and put them at risk of Covid-19.

Under changes announced last month, the charge will run until 10pm, seven days a week, from June 22.

The cost of the charge will also rise to £15 under the temporary changes, which are designed to reduce the number of journeys within the congestion charge zone by one-third.

But in a letter to Mr Khan, Paul Willcock, chair of the Betting and Gaming Council’s Land Based Casino Group, and COO of Genting UK, said the move would be a hammer-blow to workers in London’s night-time economy.

Writing on behalf of the 15 casinos within the congestion charge zone, he said around two-thirds of their 4,000 employees need to take the car to work.

He said that for a typical employee working five shifts a week, the changes will add around £300 a month to their travel costs.

Mr Willcock called on the mayor to either delay the changes for night-time workers, or allow them to be reimbursed for the cost.

He said:

“This impact will be accentuated by the fact that many of our staff will be returning to work initially part-time whilst our customer base gradually rebuilds. We recognise that the measure is temporary and applaud the introduction of an exemption for NHS and healthcare workers. We encourage you to review this proposal to see if something can be done to alleviate its impact on appropriate night-time economy workers. As it stands the proposal may feel like a tax on London’s night-time economy workforce. As we seek to reopen, get our staff back to work, and get the night-time economy moving, we are keen to ensure staff can travel in a covid-secure environment whilst also  allowing them the option to travel at night and in the small hours in a way that they feel safest. Delaying the introduction for night-time economy workers or extending the Congestion Charge reimbursement scheme for this key group would enable a return to work in a way which supports the economy and a covid-secure environment for all. Without a delay or exemption, I am concerned that our staff will see public transport as the only option.”

Read the letter in full:

Dear Mayor Khan

Temporary Congestion Charge Increase and Extension

I am writing on behalf of the 15 London casinos inside the Congestion Charge zone. Together we employ over 4000 people.

As part of London’s vibrant night-time economy our employees are looking forward to getting back to work. To support their families, to serve our customers and to do their bit to get the London economy going again.  The sector contributes in excess of £180 million a year to London’s GDP.

Affordable and safe travel to work is a key enabler for employees to return.

Many of our employees (approximately two-thirds) will travel to work by car during night-time hours between 6pm-10pm and at weekends, often leaving work when public transport options are unavailable to them. This will mean that they now have to pay the increased £15 congestion charge the moment they return to work in the coming weeks. Our teams are telling us that the extension to 10pm and weekends and the increase to £15 will severely increase their travel costs at a time when they are already feeling the pinch as never before.

For a typical employee working five shifts a week this is an additional monthly cost of £300.

This impact will be accentuated by the fact that many of our staff will be returning to work initially part-time whilst our customer base gradually rebuilds

We recognise that the measure is temporary and applaud the introduction of an exemption for NHS and healthcare workers. We encourage you to review this proposal to see if something can be done to alleviate its impact on appropriate night-time economy workers. As it stands the proposal may feel like a tax on London’s night-time economy workforce.

As we seek to reopen, get our staff back to work, and get the night-time economy moving, we are keen to ensure staff can travel in a covid-secure environment whilst also allowing them the option to travel at night and in the small hours in a way that they feel safest.

Delaying the introduction for night-time economy workers or extending the Congestion Charge reimbursement scheme for this key group would enable a return to work in a way which supports the economy and a covid-secure environment for all. Without a delay or exemption, I am concerned that our staff will see public transport as the only option.

May I take this opportunity to thank you for your support for London’s business community and to restate that as a sector we are committed to doing what we can to support the London economy at this critical time.

Yours sincerely,

Paul Willcock

Chair, BGC Land Based Casino Group President and COO, Genting UK