Casino Industry Concerned over new Covid Restrictions

As the Omicron variant spreads around the UK, there are concerns over how new restrictions will affect the casino industry.

Michael Dugher is the chief executive of the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC). He wants to see financial support offered to casinos if they are affected by the new rules now in place. It follows a difficult period of over a year and a half, in which casinos have either been temporarily closed or have restrictions placed on opening and closing times.

Recent days have seen the number of new Covid-19 cases increasing sharply. There are no current plans to force casinos to close but those restrictions and the advice being given by scientists is worrying casino owners.

The advice to limit unnecessary contacts is already causing people to change their plans. A night out at the casino may not be seen as a sufficient excuse to pay a visit to the local venue.
Mr Dugher says that casinos are an essential element of the hospitality industry. The possibility of a fall in revenue rather than a busy Christmas is not something to be welcomed after everything that has happened this and last year.

Problems have been felt in Scotland in particular. The different rules in that country saw the date for the reopening of casinos delayed.

The chief executive has called for help to be given to casinos by the government. He wants Chancellor Rishi Sunak to produce an economic package for business, especially those in the hospitality industry. Something like the help given during previous lockdowns is what he believes should be offered.

“Casinos are a major economic contributor to the UK, as well as an integral part of the hospitality industry,” he said. The chief executive added: “After a gruelling 18 months, they (casinos) 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.”

The casino industry employs an estimated 11,600 people, according to BGC estimates. They pay £600 million in tax and contributing £1.2bn to the economy. Mr Dugher has called for “reassurances” that help would be given to the industry if further restrictions are put in place.

You can bet that casino bosses and the BGC will be keeping a very close eye on the news. There may not be a lockdown in place, but the fears are that the doom and gloom predictions will simply deter people from having a night out.