BGC urges continued UK furlough scheme flexibility

UK Furlough BGC

The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has urged Chancellor Rishi Sunak to maintain flexibility on the government’s furlough scheme for workers. 

In the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak in the UK, the furlough initiative was introduced to protect workers both in the gambling industry and elsewhere. 

The scheme will slowly be winding down over the coming months, with the country slowly emerging from its 74-day lockdown. 

Operators have been forced to base themselves solely online since 20th March, when all land-based outlets were closed to halt the virus’ spread. Sports was suspended not long before.

Scheme ending in October, with employers needing to contribute before 

In March, the UK government pledged to contribute up to 80% of companies’ salaries for personnel. The agreed total for this is up to £2,500 per month. 

Furlough scheme members must begin contributing to staff wages from the beginning of August. They will need to pay National Insurance contributions thereafter, followed by 10% in September and 20% in October. For staff who return to part-time work in July, companies are obliged to pay 100% of their salaries. 

BGC Chief Executive Michael Dugher spoke about the continued support for gambling businesses, with his thoughts being as follows. 

“Any help for businesses from the government at this time of global crisis is of course welcome, and we thank the Chancellor for providing more clarity on how the furlough scheme will operate until the end of October. 

“Even though the lockdown is easing, many of our member companies – and in particular in casinos and bingo halls – will be forced to operate at a reduced capacity for the foreseeable future because of the need to maintain strict social distancing.”  

UK gambling industry slowly beginning to open up again 

Sports betting operators have been forced to pivot since mid-March, with almost every major sporting event across the globe suspended. However, they will welcome the boost from the news that competitive sports in the UK were allowed to return from yesterday. 

The Premier League will resume on 17th June, with the EFL Championship returning on the weekend of the 20th. All games in both divisions will be played behind closed doors. 

Land-based operators will also be allowed to reopen soon. The set date for them welcoming customers again – provided they meet safety requirements – is 15th June.