In the United Kingdom and The Betting and Gaming Council has called on the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak (pictured), ‘to keep being flexible’ in his support for the nation’s regulated betting and gaming industry as it begins to emerge from a raft of coronavirus-related lockdown measures.
The London-headquartered organization represents approximately 90% of gaming, sportsbetting, casino and bingo operators in the United Kingdom and used an official Friday press release to detail that all of its members’ domestic land-based operations have been shuttered since March 20 as part of a government-led initiative designed to help stop the spread of a coronavirus pandemic that has so far killed over 38,400 locals.
Sunak replaced predecessor Sajid Javid following a February 13 cabinet reshuffle and responded to the outbreak by initiating his Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which sees the government pay 80% of any furloughed worker’s wages up to £2,500 ($3,118) a month. The Betting and Gaming Council proclaimed that it ‘strongly welcomed’ this move as a way to help the around 64,000 people who are employed by the United Kingdom’s retail betting and gaming industry.
However, the organization explained that this program is due to be scaled back from August beginning with a requirement that firms pay their employees’ National Insurance and pension contributions. It revealed that this curtailing is moreover set to see the government’s employee wage commitment drop to 70% in September before October sees this pledge fall to 60%.
Michael Dugher, Chief Executive for The Betting and Gaming Council, used the press release to state that many land-based casino and sportsbetting venues may begin to emerge from their coronavirus-associated slumber later this month with his group eager to retain the help of government as such locations ‘will be forced to operate at a reduced capacity for the foreseeable future because of the need to maintain strict social distancing’.
The Betting and Gaming Council pronounced that its members paid over £3 billion ($3.7 billion) in taxes last year while contributing as much as £200 million ($249.3 million) to the nation’s tourism industry. Dugher declared that his group has ‘had super engagement with the government up until now’ and is hopeful of being able to continue this communication so as to ‘ensure the betting and gaming industry can play its full part in getting the United Kingdom back on its feet’.
Read a statement from Dugher…
“Any help for businesses from the government at this time of global crisis is of course welcome and we thank the Chancellor for providing more clarity on how the furlough scheme will operate until the end of October. Given the significant contribution the hospitality and leisure sector makes to the United Kingdom’s economy, we would urge the Chancellor to keep being flexible and acknowledge that it will continue to need support from the government as the country emerges from the pandemic.”