The UK Government has just announced that land-based casinos in England can reopen on Saturday, August 15th.
The announcement came on Friday morning in a message put out by the UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, on his social media channels.
See the full list here: https://t.co/V5ffEFlZtL
— UK Prime Minister (@10DowningStreet) August 14, 2020
Casinos were forced to close back at the end of March as part of the original lockdown measures due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
When are casinos reopening?
This is third time lucky for casinos to reopen. As we have reported, casinos previously were initially due to reopen on July 4th, but this was then pushed back to the start of August. This was again pushed back at the 11th hour on July 31st.
Casinos will be reopening alongside music venues, comedy clubs and theatres as the restrictions get lifted on the August 15th.
This announcement came after increased pressure from the BGC this week to extend the furlough scheme to casinos as they were being asked to pay National Insurance and pay into the staff pensions, despite being closed.
BGC reaction to the announcement
The Betting and Gambling Council have had there say on the announcement on the morning of August 14th. The Chief Executive Michael Dugher had this to say: “We regret that it has taken so long for staff to return to work – long after all manner of venues and activities, that don’t have anything like the anti-COVID measures you will see in any casino, were reopened,”
“Given casinos had been cleared by Public Health England as safe to reopen and given we had the strong support of DCMS, who have been steadfast throughout, it was lamentable that our safe businesses had to suffer considerable hurt and expense with a further pointless two-week delay.”
Dugher also went onto say what impact the lockdown restrictions have had on the land-based casino industry: “The last five months has left many casinos on the brink and the next few months will be particularly crucial to their recovery as the tourism, leisure and hospitality sector slowly gets back on its feet,” he said.
“This sector can play an important part in our national economic recovery, and I hope ministers will continue to work closely with the industry to provide support through this difficult period.”
This announcement, though only applies to casinos in England. As the other nations have devolved powers to let them control their own sectors, it is down to the individual country’s governments to decide when they will open casinos. The Scottish Government have said that they are looking to reopen on the August 24th. Dugher has called on the Welsh Government to follow Scotland’s lead. He said: “Casinos have invested heavily in new COVID safeguards; there can be no justification for further delaying their opening,” he said.
“We continue to urge the Welsh Government to fully engage with the sector and seek the reassurances we can provide to bring about the safe reopening of casinos in Wales.”