Betting and Gaming Council urges ministers to reopen casinos

Holyrood ministers are being urged to 'end the uncertainty' for casinos across the country.

Betting and Gaming Council urges ministers to reopen casinos Pixabay

Holyrood ministers are being urged to “end the uncertainty” for casinos by announcing a date for their reopening after lockdown.

The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) made the plea, saying businesses need clarity.

It comes after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon warned companies she may not be able to announce many more relaxations when lockdown restrictions are next reviewed on Thursday.

A return to full-time schooling in August and the end of shielding requirements at the end of this month are the Scottish Government’s priorities and keeping levels of Covid-19 low is vital to achieve them, Sturgeon has said.

But with casinos in England having been told they can reopen their doors from August 1 after more than four months of lockdown, the BGC called on the Scottish and Welsh governments to set their own dates.

Casinos across the UK – which employ 14,000 people and contribute around £300m a year to the Treasury – have introduced a range of anti-coronavirus measures to ensure the safety of their staff and customers.

These include Perspex screens and the introduction of track and trace systems, as well as hand sanitiser stations and strict social distancing guidelines inside.

A BGC spokesman said: “We were delighted when the UK Government announced that casinos in England could reopen from August 1.

“It was a tremendous boost for their staff and customers, but also for the Treasury, which has been spending £5m a week on furlough costs for casino workers during lockdown.

“It is now time for ministers in Edinburgh and Cardiff to end the uncertainty which still faces 2000 casino staff in Scotland and Wales by giving them a date for reopening.”

He added: “Businesses need clarity and so far this has been lacking from both administrations.

“We urge them to work with casinos to allow to reopen safely.”

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “We don’t want any businesses to remain closed, or open with restrictions in place, for a day longer than is necessary but public health is paramount.

“We are keeping the situation under review.”

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