UK casinos want to ban alcohol to avoid “catastrophic” closings

Casinos in the UK have proposed an alcohol ban to avoid “catastrophic” closures which could lead to thousands of job losses. The venues which employ 14,000 people and raised £1.3bn for the Treasury in the last three years are in fear of being forced to close their doors once again in the latest round of COVID restrictions being introduced by the Government.

In a last-ditch bid to avoid closure, the sector has said it is prepared to stop selling alcohol altogether to ensure their omission from the list of businesses being ordered to close.

Michael Dugher, chief executive of the Betting and Gaming Council, has written to every MP urging them to lobby the Government to allow casinos to stay open.

Mr Dugher said:

“Casinos have already proved, thanks to their world class track and trace systems, the use of Perspex screens, hand sanitisers and strict social distancing rules, that they are Covid-secure according to Public Health England. There are relatively few casinos, we know that their impact on Covid is negligible and they have in fact operated perfectly safely since re-opening in August. There are no public health grounds to order their closure now.”

Ministers need to understand that casinos are not pseudo-nightclubs or places where young people go to drink. Nevertheless, they are willing to reduce their risk levels even further by refusing to serve alcohol, which the Government seems to think is another factor in the spread of the virus.

In light of all of this, I would urge ministers to be reasonable and allow casinos to remain safely open and continue to play their part in raising desperately-needed tax revenues for the Treasury, whilst also stopping the spread of the coronavirus.

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