Casi­nos ac­cuse PM of risk­ing 6,000 jobs

‘The Gov­ern­ment are swing­ing a wreck­ing ball right through the mid­dle of our in­dus­try’

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Front Page - By Oliver Gill

UP TO 6,000 jobs are at risk from Boris John­son’s eleventh-hour re­ver­sal on re­open­ing casi­nos, gam­bling lead­ers have warned.

Bosses ac­cused the Prime Min­is­ter of “swing­ing a wreck­ing ball right through the mid­dle of our in­dus­try” as plans to re­open casi­nos on Aug 1 were put on ice on Fri­day.

The Gov­ern­ment has slammed the brakes on the eas­ing of Covid re­stric­tions amid mount­ing con­cern that the coun­try is on the cusp of a se­cond wave of the pan­demic. The Bet­ting and

Gam­ing Coun­cil (BGC) wrote to the Rishi Su­nak, the Chancellor, on Fri­day to protest at the de­ci­sion to keep casi­nos closed.

It said the move was “highly il­log­i­cal, in­con­sis­tent and deeply dam­ag­ing to those busi­nesses and the thou­sands of staff they em­ploy”. One in­dus­try in­sider said that it felt like casi­nos were “be­ing used as a po­lit­i­cal pawn”. BGC chief ex­ec­u­tive Michael Dugher said: “The Gov­ern­ment are swing­ing a wreck­ing ball right through the mid­dle of our in­dus­try and large scale job losses, which ought to be un­nec­es­sary and avoid­able, now look in­evitable un­less min­is­ters act fast.”

Casino op­er­a­tors, which em­ploy 14,000 peo­ple across 125 venues, said they had spent £6m rolling out ad­di­tional mea­sures so that they could be Covid-se­cure.

Be­ing la­belled “higher risk” by the Prime Min­is­ter was par­tic­u­larly galling, bosses said.

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