The casino industry in Scotland has united their forces to launch a campaign to urge Scotland’s Government to reconsider the current coronavirus restrictions, which have forced casino venue closures.
Scotland’s Five-Tier System of Restrictions
On November 2, Scotland had entered the five-tier system of restrictions, which compelled casinos to shut down. The Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced some Scottish Council areas are moving to Level 4 Covid restrictions, which had led to the closure of betting shops. Hundreds of casino jobs are at risk after the venues were forced to shut down, despite having no evidence of spreading Covid.
The campaign ‘The Chips Are Down: Save Our Casinos, Save Our Jobs’ led by Grosvenor Casino, Scotland’s largest Casino operator, along with Genting Casino, Caesars Entertainment, and Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) stresses the belief that the Scotland casino industry is being unfairly singled out. The campaign’s objective is to persuade First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to open casinos at tier 2. Eleven casino venues in Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, and Glasgow, which support more than 700 jobs, have launched a petition to encourage their customers to write to the First Minister.
The campaign points out that whilst pubs, restaurants, bars, and cinemas are allowed to continue to trade in Level 2 or below, casinos are forced to shut down and insists on the immediate need for a reappraisal of the current Scotland Strategic Framework.
Damages to the Scottish Gambling Industry
Jonathan Swaine, the managing director of Grosvenor Casino, said, “We cannot stress enough how damaging it is that casinos across Scotland are being imposed with these arbitrary instructions. And as an industry, we provide ultra-safe venues for colleagues and customers to visit. There is no shred of scientific evidence supporting the decision to keep casinos closed in level 2 while other hospitality venues can stay open.
“If Scottish casinos are forced to remain closed, it will have a devastating impact on those customers who enjoy their local venues as a community hub, on team members who will lose their jobs, on the local suppliers it serves, on the charities that they are proud to support, as well as on the wider economy which will lose millions of pounds in tax receipts.”
BGC made an official statement in response to Nicola Sturgeon’s announcement: “…it is extremely disappointing for staff and customers that betting shops in these council areas will now, unfortunately, have to close, not least because of the excellent anti-Covid measures which have enabled them to operate safely since they reopened in the summer.”
“We hope that the shops will be able to reopen as soon as possible so they can go back to contributing to the economy.”
The casinos were reopened for the first time on August 24 since shutting down in mid-March. But the majority were forced to shut again on October 10. Out of the 30,000 admissions to casinos after reopening, only one case of coronavirus transmission has been recorded. Casinos have invested millions of pounds in guaranteeing the safety of their customers and colleagues.