Casinos in the UK will reopen in August

by Ethan Anderson Last Updated
tablet with casino code coming out of the screen

UK casinos have finally been cleared to reopen after their lengthy closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Calvin Ayre reports that last Friday, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson laid out the latest phase of the government’s economic restart program, which will finally allow UK casinos to reopen to the public on August 1.

The casinos were ordered to close in March, as the country struggled to get its COVID-19 infection rate under control.

Betting shops were allowed to reopen last month but casinos were left behind, despite the operators deploying the necessary health and safety precautions and furious lobbying by the Betting and Gaming Control, on behalf of the estimated 12,000 English casino staff furloughed since March.

On Friday, the BGC hailed the UK government’s announcement while demanding that regional authorities in Scotland and Wales “end the uncertainty” for the 2,000 casino staff in those regions, who still don’t know when they might go back to work.

The UK government’s announcement may have come too late for 1,642 staff at venues operating by Genting UK, which said Thursday that it would be trimming its payrolls due to the “temporary closure of business and reduced trading and changes to operating model.”

The company said “a significant number of those at risk of redundancy will remain on furlough” for the time being and the company promised to do what it could to “bring those individual back in to the business at a later stage.”

Genting added that it had been leaning heavily on the government’s job retention scheme but “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.”

It’s unclear what impact the government’s recent announcement might have on Genting’s staff cull.

Genting warned last month that its casinos in Bristol, Torquay and Margate would likely not be reopening when the government finally sounded the all-clear.

Paul Wilcock, who heads up the Malaysian conglomerate’s UK division, said the company was looking at “some very difficult options to ensure survival.”

Genting UK, followed up that notice by calling time on poker operations at its UK properties, which will bring an end to the long-running Genting Poker Series.

The company had only recently rebranded the series to reflect its new GentingBet identity.

Genting’s Singapore unit announced this week it could lay off as many as 2,000 staff at its Resorts World Sentosa integrated resort, which was shut down in April due to COVID-19 and only recently received permission to reopen on a limited basis.

Genting focuses on Yokohama project

It has been reported today that integrated resorts developer Genting Singapore has stated that it will focus its efforts and resources in Japan on Yokohama, Japan’s second largest city by population.

Casino Buzz reported in February that a Genting Singapore spokesperson said: “While Genting Singapore participated in the Osaka RFC; after reviewing and considering shareholder feedback, it did not register for the Osaka RFP, for which registration closed on February 14.”

The government of Japan is set to issue three licences for three integrated resorts in the country.

“Genting Singapore will continue to engage in the ongoing RFC by Yokohama, and focus efforts and resources on delivering a compelling proposal which will make Yokohama a must-visit tourism destination, with particular prominence in MICE and leisure,” the spokesperson said.

Local government ministers in Yokohama announced last week that it would be releasing its draft policy next month and that a period of consultation would follow, with a finalised basic policy expected by June 2020.

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