The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has sent a letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, expressing concerns about budget allocation.
Rishi Sunak has announced measures to ease the impact of Covid-19 on businesses, but the gambling industry was left out.
Govt said all businesses in retail, hospitality & leisure would get access to rate relief. But high street bookies & casinos are excluded. @MichaelDugher says this is a blow to thousands working in the sector, concerns echoed by cross party MPs @lrobertsonTewks & @ConorMcGinn https://t.co/5dSBfS7SCa
— Betting and Gaming Council (@BetGameCouncil) March 20, 2020
A “bizarre” decision
After learning that the industry wouldn’t be eligible for governmental assistance, Michael Dugher and Brigid Simmonds of the council wrote to Sunak. In their letter, the duo said the below.
“Any suggestion that casinos are not part of the leisure industry is frankly bizarre when they provide entertainment, food and drink to millions of people every year.
“The government has quite rightly added many other businesses to the official guidance such as nightclubs, but for reasons no one can work out betting shops, casinos and bingo halls have been deliberately left out to dry.”
The strongly-worded message also included the below.
“Why are the many hardworking staff that are employed in our industry, whose jobs are at risk because of the same challenges faced in other leisure companies, not considered by the Treasury worthy of similar support?”
Previous proposals fall on deaf ears
Ahead of the Chancellor’s first budget earlier this month, the BGC sent a separate letter. In this, they asked that small businesses were supported.
In this, the council wanted the small business rate relief to extend to more companies. This rule allows those based in properties worth less than £51,000 discounts when occupying non-domestic property.
Covid-19’s impact on the gambling industry
The coronavirus outbreak has resulted in the share prices of many gambling businesses dropping. In a new update by H2 Gambling Capital, it’s predicted that industry revenue will decline by 11% this year.
Both Flutter Entertainment and GVC Holdings feel that the impact of sporting cancellations will impact their earnings.
The Stars Group, which is Flutter’s future merger partner, also feels that a lack of sport will affect company revenue. However, it was optimistic about things going forward as much of its earnings come from poker and casino. The company also noted that it’s performing better-than-expected in Q1 2020 so far.
Meanwhile, Better Collective is still aiming to meet its original revenue goals – despite the current situation.