Gent­ing to close casi­nos in Mar­gate, Bris­tol and Torquay

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Business - Si­mon Foy By

GENT­ING Casi­nos is set to axe more than 1,600 jobs and close three UK sites as it seeks to cut costs to weather the fall­out from the pan­demic.

The gam­bling firm said it had suf­fered “heavy losses” in re­cent months as the coro­n­avirus out­break forced its casi­nos to shut. They are yet to re­open.

As a re­sult, it said 1,642 em­ploy­ees could face re­dun­dancy, adding it was “only right” to lay off staff in roles that are not likely to be re­tained rather than keep­ing them on fur­lough.

A Gent­ing spokesman said: “The Job Re­ten­tion Scheme is just that and there­fore when it be­came clear to us that a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of roles could likely not be re­tained, it was only right to be­gin the re­dun­dancy con­sul­ta­tion process rather than con­tin­u­ing to take gov­ern­ment money via the fur­lough scheme.

“We are hav­ing to make some heart­break­ing de­ci­sions about the fu­ture of the busi­ness and it is with huge re­gret that job losses are sim­ply un­avoid­able.”

The firm also in­tends to per­ma­nently close three of its clubs at Mar­gate,

Torquay and Bris­tol be­cause they are no longer fi­nan­cially vi­able. The gam­bling gi­ant is the lat­est com­pany to an­nounce mass lay­offs in the leisure in­dus­try.

Con­cerns are mount­ing that many more com­pa­nies will cut staff as they look to shore up their fi­nances when the Gov­ern­ment’s fur­lough scheme is ta­pered back from next month.

Mick Rix, na­tional of­fi­cer at the GMB union, said: “Taxpayers’ cash has funded Gent­ing to the tune of mil­lions of pounds dur­ing lock­down – now they are mak­ing peo­ple re­dun­dant rather than con­trib­ute to­wards the fur­lough scheme from the end of Au­gust.”

Gent­ing said it plans to re­open all of its other 29 sites but with sig­nif­i­cant changes to phys­i­cal premises and its op­er­at­ing model.

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