In the United Kingdom, three Genting Casino properties, Torquay, Bristol and possibly Margate, are expected to remain closed when COVID-19 operating restrictions are lifted as the company continues to deal with “unprecedented challenges” caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Furthermore, widespread job losses are expected across all 32 of the operator’s UK venues.
The arm of Malaysian casino giant, Genting Malaysia Berhad, Genting Casinos UK Limited has, according to Plymouth Live, written to workers outlining the company’s plans as it struggles to mitigate losses caused by having to temporarily close its sites.
Trade union consultation:
Representing workers is GMB (General, Municipal, Boilermakers), the general trade union in the UK for leisure and hospitality workers among others, which has reportedly warned that proposals to shutter Genting’s Torquay casino are “just the start” and the sector [leisure and hospitality] has reached the breaking point.
The operator’s Plymouth Casino is expected to remain open, however, it is facing potential job cuts. Workers at the 2 Union Street venue are on furlough via the Government’s Job Retention Scheme.
While the exact number of workers at each casino is unknown, there are reportedly seven GMB members at the Plymouth casino and a half dozen in Torquay. These numbers do not reflect the entire workforce, however.
The company has reportedly been consulting nationally with the trade union regarding the potential reductions in employees that Genting said is required due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Meanwhile, at the two sites located in the county of Devon [Plymouth & Torquay], workers have been informed of the proposals via a letter from President and Chief Operating Officer for Genting UK Plc, Paul Willcock, who said…
“The Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic has caused unprecedented challenges. This has had a huge financial impact on our business and caused significant uncertainty for the foreseeable future. I am therefore forced to contemplate some very difficult options to ensure survival.”
GMB Union regional organizer, Matt Roberts, said…
“We are disappointed that the Torquay site is one of only three in the country that are proposed to close fully. GMB will explore every avenue with Gentings to try and keep these jobs, no matter how hopeless the situation in the sector may appear. The casinos, like other leisure venues, have done their duty and complied with the lockdown, following the Prime Minister’s instructions and utilising the Government’s furlough scheme. As the scheme ends, GMB fears this is just the beginning of widespread job losses across the sector that will hit local communities hard.”
Roberts added, “If the Government wants this country to retain a leisure and hospitality industry, we need to see support measures continue, in some form, that we can gradually wean the businesses off as the situation hopefully improves over the next year or so. Otherwise, there will be very little hospitality and leisure businesses left for the public to go back to.”
Following the March 20, 2020 announcement from British Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordering all pubs, restaurants, casinos, museums, theatres and gyms to close, Genting had shut down all of its UK land-based casinos by midnight on Friday, March 20.
The company suspended the operation and streaming of its live gaming tables from all casinos within the UK including Manchester, Birmingham, London and Edinburgh on March 24.
The company’s online business, GentingBet.com, continues to operate with both its casino and sportsbook offerings.