English land-based casinos were all set to reopen their doors over the weekend, allowing revelers to get back inside casinos.
But, on July 31, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that he would be delaying the reopening of English casinos until August 15 at the earliest.
In response, the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) sent a scathing letter to the chancellor of the exchequer to express its dismay at the decision.
A Big Blow for English Casinos
Casinos in England have been forced to close their doors since March 20, and have not had a chance to earn any revenue since.
Very few English casinos pivoted and launched an online platform, digging a huge financial hole for owners.
With the reopening touted to be on August 1, casinos across the country took employees off furlough status, having dire consequences.
This means that English casinos are required to pay these employees their salaries and National Insurance, while remaining closed.
This could put a huge strain on English casinos, and as a result we could end up seeing a mass wage of redundancies.
A Lot Longer to Wait
As COVID-19 measures and restrictions slowly begin to increase again as numbers continue to soar in the UK, we could in fact see this delay increase.
The current delay from the Prime Minister is only tentative and could be extended at any moment, depending on how case numbers go over the next few weeks.
In Las Vegas, the Culinary Union has noted that employees are getting infected with COVID since the casinos reopened.
During its last report, more than 350 union members and their family have tested positive for COVID since being forced back to work.
It’s this type of situation that the UK government is looking to avoid, but has not yet realized that the issue doesn’t only extend to casinos.
Any business that accepts customers into its premises could be stricken with the ill fate of COVID-19, meaning if the numbers in the UK continue to rise, we could see a second lockdown imposed.
Online Is the Way Forwards
With the uncertainty of the future of the English casino scene, more and more online casinos are recording all-time high profits.
Online casino giant Betsson saw a 20% increase in profits year on year, taking in a huge $170.8 million during Q2.
Elsewhere, other online casinos ramped up welcome bonuses and promotions, welcoming in players from all around the world with open arms.
As the COVID situation continues to get worse, more and more online casinos are ramping up their promotions to take the lion’s share of traffic.
American casinos quickly adapted to the online setup during their lockdown period, but it appears as if UK casinos are a lot slower to adapt.
Despite the UK casinos bringing in more than £5.7 million in taxes per week during 2019, online casinos brought in considerably more.
Perhaps the UK government is planning on using COVID as an excuse to weed out the competitors from a few select bigger land-based casinos to help friends.
It wouldn’t be the first time we’ve seen moves like this from lawmakers around the world