BGC chief condemns Nicola Sturgeon’s decision on casinos

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BGC chief condemns Nicola Sturgeon’s decision on casinos

Betting and Gaming Council CEO Michael Dugher has outlined his frustrations in a letter to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

The Scottish Government has declared that casinos will only be allowed to re-open in level one areas, while other hospitality venues like pubs and restaurants can open in level two zones.

It also decided to re-open those venues from April 26; however, casinos will have to wait until early June.

Dugher sees this as “singling out” casinos, who have spent millions making themselves safe during the pandemic.

He referred to a report from environmental health practitioner Dr Lisa Ackerley, stating that casinos were “as safe, if not safer” than other hospitality venues.

This was due to casinos implementing Covid-safe measures like plexiglass screens, sanitiser stations and social distancing throughout venues.

With this in mind, Dugher sees Sturgeon’s decision as “baffling” and says it has left 700 employees in limbo.

In his letter, Dugher wrote: “Ordering the continued closure of casinos in Level 2 areas in Scotland would be a needless blow for the 700 hardworking men and women that they employ, as well as economically self-harming, given the £30m ($41.8m) in tax they pay per year in normal times.

“Our casino members in Scotland are at a complete loss as to understand the decision not to allow them to reopen alongside venues. Please can you explain the scientific basis of this decision?»

Dugher wants casinos to be treated with “parity and fairness” and feels casinos should be put into level two this week, or given a clear date for reopening.