Casinos and other gambling sites in the UK now know exactly where they stand in the pecking order of commercial importance.
As the country starts to return to normal after the COVID-19 pandemic, commercial activity is being permitted to resume.
Entertainment and hospitality businesses are the latest to be given the greenlight to return, but casinos are yet to be allowed to resume. Well, gambling venues rank lower than sewer cleaners!
Across the country, bars, restaurants, movie theatres and other commercial businesses will return to business as of July 4, provided they observe a “one-meter (3-foot) plus rule,” according to PM Boris Johnson’s latest order.
The Prime Minister told legislators in the House of Commons that the day marks a new “Independence Day” for the UK, adding,
“Today we can say that our long national hibernation is beginning to come to an end and life is returning to our streets and to our shops, the bustle is starting to come back and a new but cautious optimism is palpable.”
Casinos weren’t singled out completely though, they share a similar fate as nightclubs, indoor gyms and nightclubs.
However, the move appears consistent with an overall anti-gambling sentiment that has infected the higher positions of the UK government recently.
There are so many restrictions on the gambling industry that the nation is going to end up missing out on a major source of revenue just when it badly needs it.
The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) is baffled by the postponements, calling a continued lockdown “nonsensical.” Gambling operators have been working to obey health and safety measures just like everyone else and, in some scenarios, have even surpassed what was required.
Table capacity and occupancy limits have been set out, facemasks are going to be compulsory, two-meter separations been installed between gaming machines and plexiglass dividers have been put in place where applicable.
Apparently, that’s not enough to please those who have a say, and the BGC is miffed. Despite being an annual source of more than $375m to the treasury, the gambling sector is being treated like an outcast.
The BGC’s Chief Executive Michael Dugher, explained in a statement after the PM made his announcement:
“[It] is inconsistent and frankly nonsensical that casinos are being forced to remain closed, when other parts of the hospitality and leisure industry are opening up again. Our casino members make a huge contribution to the economy, sustaining thousands of jobs and providing large amounts of much-needed tax revenue to the Treasury.”
He added: “Casinos have done everything that they were asked to do by the Government and they have pulled out all the stops to ensure they are able to open their doors safely for both staff and customers from 4 July. It is therefore extremely disappointing that the Government has not yet cleared casinos to reopen. We want to urgently work with Ministers to ensure that casinos are reopened safely and as speedily as possible this summer.”