The gambling industry is one of the industries hardest hit by the Coronavirus outbreak, and this has now led to the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) having called upon the UK Chancellor to make available emergency help to the industry in an attempt to save literally thousands of jobs now threatened by the global pandemic. Concerns co666ntinue to mount as the virus continues to spread, causing the casino and sports betting industry to now fear for life and limb.
Government on Monday again urged people to limit social contact to the point of complete avoidance, as well as to stop all non-essential travel. This all in an attempt to try and contain the virus by helping to slow the pace at which it is spreading. The BGC has however called on government to not only make recommendations about Covid-19, but to also provide solutions to the challenges brought about when people adhere to those recommendations and advices. Businesses and individual employees must now be protected as they face the brunt of the impact of the pandemic, said the BGC.
Employees Must Be Prioritised
The main issue at hand and one that must be prioritised, said the BGC, is that of employment costs. By protecting employers, government will in essence be protecting the industry’s employees too as it will be easier for employers to keep employees on their payrolls. Suggestions made by the organisation range from payment holidays to additional time allowed for the payment of Pay As You Earn (PAYE) contributions.
A temporary suspension regarding consultation periods is also being called for, as well as additional time for the payment of duties and corporate taxes. Banks are to extend SME support, and more small businesses should be permitted to make use of the small business retail rate relief. The BGC said that government would be wise to concede to its recommendations if a crisis of an altogether different nature is to be avoided.
Major Declines Rocking Business
The BGC also confirmed that according to its own research conducted into the current state of affairs in the gambling and sports betting industry, customer levels have over the course of a week dropped by up to 90% at many casinos.
Betting shops, by the same logic, and thanks to folks having been prompted to self-isolate and avoid large gatherings of people, have seen their own customer levels drop by up to 60%. This is furthermore not only because of people remaining put at home, but also because of the fact that a huge number of major sports events have been cancelled due to the Coronavirus. The recent cancellation of the Grand National pushed the crisis to new levels of panic and has increased fears relating to job-security and staff cuts.
This Is What Is Needed Now
BGC Chief Executive Michael Dugher at the time of the organisation’s plea to government, said that the casino and betting industry isn’t at all different to the hospitality and entertainment industries, at least not as far as challenges brought about by the global pandemic go. The priority too, remains the consistent across the board: the ability to pay employees what is due to them.
Dugher said that the immediate need is that of temporary financial support from government that can be utilised for covering costs related to payroll administration. Relief in terms of time permitted for the payment of taxes and duties is a necessity, as is actual access to additional finance. Dugher concluded his appeal to government by saying that the Department of Treasury, in particular, needs to realise the importance of stepping up to the plate and furthermore, that business insurance truly does not provide for or cover the massive impact of a full-on global pandemic.