7,000 casino jobs will be lost in days unless Boris Johnson reverses decision to keep them closed, MPs warn

MORE than 7,000 casino jobs will be lost within days unless Boris Johnson reverses last week’s decision to keep them shut, MPs have warned.

Dozens of MPs from all main Westminster parties have written to the PM urging him to lift the ban on casinos.

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They were due to open last Saturday but the decision was reversed with less than 24 hours notice after the PM delayed a raft of Covid-19 easements due to the recent spike in cases in the UK.

But in their letter to the PM the MPs present evidence showing casinos pose less of a risk than pubs and restaurants, which have been able to open since July 4.

And now half of the more than 14,000 UK casino jobs are at risk of being lost, the MPs warn.

The last-minute decision to pull the plug on reopening has cost casinos £6 million due to taking staff off furlough, training, security and food and drinks.

And it’s costing them £5million every week that they remain closed waiting for the greenlight to open.

The letter was signed by several leading Tory figures, including former Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey and the boss of the Commons Culture committee Damian Collins, and has the backing of senior Labour MPs including John Spellar.

The industry argues that it is lower risk than pubs and restaurants because of the lower number of venues, meaning reopening them would have a negligible risk of spreading the virus.

MPs say businesses have invested heavily to build Covid-secure venues with measures such as perspex screens, sanitation equipment and sophisticated track and trace systems, as well as deploying strict social distancing rules.

The letter to the PM says: “We write to convey our frustration with the Government’s decision to not permit casinos to reopen as originally planned on 1 August.

"This decision has had a hugely negative impact on these businesses with up to half of their employees now at risk of losing their jobs according to the industry.

"We urgently ask you to review this decision and to permit casinos to reopen without further delay.

“Casinos have been closed for nearly 5 months but they want to get back to business and once again contribute to the economy. Having made the necessary preparations for reopening, the negligible impact of their reopening on covid and the threat to jobs we call on the Government to permit casinos to reopen.”

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