Despite a previous plea to the Scottish government to give casinos the same rights as the rest of the hospitality sector, casinos have now been told that they will not be allowed to reopen until June at the earliest under the country’s current policy.
The failure to reassess how businesses are allowed to emerge from the current lockdown has led the Betting and Gaming Council to condemn Nicola Sturgeon’s refusal to enable casinos in Scotland to reopen at the same time as other hospitality venues.
As a result, Michael Dugher, the BGC’s chief executive has written to the first minister to once again ask why casinos must wait until Level 1 before they can reopen when the hospitality sector will be allowed to start trading again when the country enters Level 2.
He also points to an independent report which found that casinos were “as safe, if not safer” than other venues in the hospitality industry such as pubs and restaurants.
The same report, which was collated by a chartered environment health practitioner, claims that casinos are safer due to the numerous safety measures that they have put in place since the outbreak began. They include social distancing signs, hand sanitiser stations, the installation of Plexiglass screens between tables, and ID scanning technology that is used at entry points.
Mr Dugher accuses the Scottish government of “singling out” casino businesses that have been told they will be unable to reopen until at least “early June”. He describes the situation as “baffling” and “without justification” and appeals to Nicola Sturgeon to treat casinos with “parity and fairness”.
He also points out that casinos in Scotland have not been granted business rates relief unlike other businesses in the country and that the continued closure of the casino sector is keeping 700 employees in limbo.