Scotland’s gambling industry has pleaded for casinos to be allowed to reopen in Level 2 rather than Level 1 of the country’s five-tier system of restrictions.
Operators Grosvenor Casinos, Genting Casinos, Caesars Entertainment and the Betting and Gaming Council trade association have launched a petition urging changes to the framework to help Scotland’s beleaguered betting industry.
The industry representatives claim up to 700 jobs could be at risk of redundancy if the restrictions continue as they are.
Casinos are now allowed to be open on the islands and in Moray and Highland – the only local authorities in Level 1.
People are invited to sign the Chips Are Down: Save Our Casinos, Save Our Jobs petition the industry that will be sent to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
The petition states: “Since reopening, our local casino has gone out of its way to ensure that we can continue to visit it in the safest way possible.
“Along with scrupulous hygiene measures, PPE equipment and social distancing mitigations, Scottish casinos have invested hundreds of thousands of pounds to ensure that venues are Covid-19 secure.”
The Betting and Gaming Council chief executive Michael Dugher argued casinos should be treated like pubs and restaurants that can open indoors for the consumption of food and non-alcoholic drinks at Level 2, as well as alcoholic drinks if served with a main meal.
The former MP said: “Casinos in Scotland safely reopened in August, with excellent anti-Covid measures in place, and there is absolutely no evidence that they contribute to the spread of (coronavirus).
“Closing them makes no sense, especially when other parts of the hospitality sector are being allowed to stay open.
“That’s why the industry is rallying together to urge the Scottish Government to think again, remove casinos from Level 2 and let them get back to business.”
Jonathon Swaine, Grosvenor Casinos’ managing director said: “We cannot stress enough how damaging it is that casinos across Scotland are being imposed with these arbitrary restrictions.
“As an industry we provide ultra-safe venues for colleagues and customers to visit.
“There is not a shred of scientific evidence which supports the decision to keep casinos closed in Level 2 while other hospitality venues are able to stay open.
“If Scottish casinos are forced to remain closed it will have a devastating impact on those customers who enjoy their local venues as a community hub, on team members who will lose their jobs, on the local suppliers it serves, on the charities that they are proud to support, as well as on the wider economy which will lose millions of pounds in tax receipts.”