UK casino operators were handed a major disappointment this week when Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that their planned reopening date has been kicked back from August 1 to August 15, “at least”. The casino delay comes as part of a larger effort to slow down reopening in the UK in hopes of slowing down the spread of corona virus.

Word of Johnson’s decision to delay the reopening came during a press conference with UK chief medical officer Chris Whitty. Whitty expressed the difficult reality that the UK has, “probably reached or neared the limits of what we can do in terms of opening up society.” The closure is also, clearly, a reaction to the recent uptick in COVID-19 cases across the UK.

Along with casinos, bowling alleys, skating rinks, wedding receptions and other activity venues that were once benign and are now potentially deadly. Whitty, in a statement reported on by SBC News said that the delay would likely help defer the return of a full blown, nationwide closure.

Not surprisingly, the decision to delay casino re-openings by at least a fortnight did not go down well with industry trade groups like the Betting & Gaming Council (BGC). On Twitter, BGC CEO Michael Dugher slammed the decision saying, “There is no evidence that casinos are ‘higher risk’ venues + what happened to the Govt’s local lockdown strategy? Why should a casino business remain closed in Bristol in the south west where Covid is low, because there’s a spike in Greater Manchester? Big threat to jobs.”

Dugher also warned that casino layoffs and furloughs would be all but inevitable if reopening was delayed.


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