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Government urged to respond

Government urged to respond “positively and quickly” to avoid job losses as casinos “pull out all the stops” to re-open safely in July

Ministers have been urged to respond positively to all the steps taken by casinos to ensure they can re-open their doors safely in July.

Betting and Gaming Council chief executive Michael Dugher said it was clear the venues had “pulled out all the stops” after visiting Rialto Casino in the heart of London.

The sector – which employs more than 14,000 people and pays £300m a year in tax – has been closed since March as part of the National Effort to contain the spread of Covid-19.

But operators were left disappointed when the Government announced it would not be one of the groups given the green light to open again on 4 July.

That was despite the 120 casinos across the UK introducing a range of strict anti-Covid measures to ensure the safety of their staff and customers.

These include ensuring that seating and table areas, as well as roulette chips, must be sanitised before and after use.

Customers are also limited to play at one table and must sanitise their hands before and after.

In addition, they will have to remain seated and are not permitted to circulate when playing table games.

Meanwhile, face coverings are also available for customers on request.

Mr Dugher said: “I was hugely impressed by what I saw at the Rialto Casino, one of the Grosvenor casinos.

From markings urging social distancing on the floor, to multiple hand sanitisers, sanitised chips and screens separating customers and staff, it’s obvious they have pulled out all the stops to make sure they can re-open safely. I know other operators from across the country are making similar efforts and investment.

“We were obviously disappointed by the Government’s decision not to let casinos reopen again on 4 July, but I would urge ministers to look at the anti-Covid measures casinos have introduced, reconsider the decision to keep them closed and let casinos open their doors safely later in July.

“We want to play our part in kick starting the economy, just like other parts of the leisure, entertainment and hospitality industry. In this time of great economic uncertainty, the contribution that casinos make to the nation’s finances cannot be under-estimated. We hope that the Government will respond positively and quickly – and avoid the threat of significant job losses”.

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