Following the UK Government’s 8 December 2021 move to ‘Plan B’ in England by way of response to the threat posed by the Omicron variant of Covid-19 (and similar action taken by the devolved governments in Scotland and Wales), the BGC has highlighted the need for a package of support measures for British casinos from the Government if further Covid-19 restrictions are introduced. It states as follows on its website:
Casinos Seek Covid Support Package Alongside Hospitality Industry if Further Restrictions are Needed
Michael Dugher, chief executive of the Betting and Gaming Council, said the venues were “an integral part” of the hospitality industry, alongside the likes of pubs and restaurants, and has sought reassurances from Westminster that further restrictions on casinos would be accompanied by appropriate support.
Ministers have so far stopped short of ordering major lockdown-style restrictions, like the ones introduced at the start of the pandemic.
But with people being advised by Government health experts to avoid unnecessary contact with others in the run-up to Christmas, there are fears that hospitality venues could be impacted.
That has led to calls for Chancellor Rishi Sunak to prepare an economic package, just as he did earlier in the pandemic.
Some 11,600 people are employed in Britain’s 120 casinos, which pay £600m in tax to the Treasury and contribute £1.2bn to the economy in gross value added.
Michael Dugher said: “Casinos are a major economic contributor to UK plc, as well as an integral part of the hospitality industry. After a gruelling 18 months, they have started to recover from the various impositions, including prolonged closures and travel bans, but they are now understandably concerned that further restrictions over Christmas and into the New Year will have a significant impact on their recovery. Casinos, like many others in the hospitality industry, are simply seeking reassurances that if the pandemic requires yet more severe restrictions, that they will be adequately supported by government.”