It’s been a turbulent month for casino staff. After preparing to reopen on August 1st after a month of asking the government, Boris’ updated plans delayed the grand opening by at least 2 weeks. This delay and uncertainty is set to cost the industry at least £14m.
The delay in reopening casinos was due to rising COVID-19 numbers, however the Betting and Gaming council have made multiple attempts to showcase how social distancing and sanitation measures have been implemented. Though the safest option is still to play at home at an online casino site, the BGC are confident that players will be safe in casinos in the UK.
“Casino operators have done everything asked of them by Public Health England; they have gone to extraordinary lengths and cost to ensure their venues are Covid-19 secure" reads a statement by the BGC's Chief Executive, Michael Dugher.
Dugher's statement to the government has also urged it to extend the furlough scheme for all its affected staff members, to help offset the massive losses encurred by remaining closed.
Dugher continues, “The government must step in to save these businesses before it’s too late. As a first step, they should extend the full furlough scheme to help offset the £14m casinos are expected to lose as a result of the two week delay and compensate casinos for the wasted costs of the late change of decision on their reopening.”
The cost of preparing to reopen on August 1st was reportedly £6m, the cost of which stems from staff training, food & drink costs and taking staff off of the governement's furlough scheme to be paid again.
Every week that casinos remains closed also costs the industry a further £5m. Considering we don’t have a solid and confirmed opening date yet, this is likely to cost even more going forward, putting 6,000 casino jobs at risk.