Friday, 17 July 2020

Genting Casino To Cut Over 1,600 Jobs And Close Three Casinos

Genting Casino

The Genting Casino brand has announced it will be cutting over 1,600 drops and closing three of its casino venues in the UK in response to the coronavirus pandemic and UK lockdown.

Although restaurants, shops, and pubs in the UK have been allowed to open and with music venues and gyms set to open later on, casino venues in the UK have not been given any indication of when they can open up again, and it’s damaging the entire industry.

As a result, Genting Casino, which is widely regarded as one of the biggest operators in the UK, has said this week that the UK’s coronavirus lockdown has forced the company to make “heartbreaking decisions” regarding its future and will be cutting around 1,642 jobs across its UK casino venues and hotels.

According to the Guardian, the company is said to end poker games and its hospitality services and will permanently close casinos in Bristol, Margate, and Torquay. Venues in London, Edinburgh, Blackpool, London, and Birmingham will face job cut with some venues having almost half of all employees axed.

In a statement, a Genting spokesperson explained that the company has faced heavy losses since the coronavirus lockdown was implemented and that it’s making changes to its venues across the nation in time for re-opening.

The full statement reads: “Despite the ongoing uncertainty in relation to when we may be able to open our doors again, we are continuing to prepare for our re-opening – albeit with significant changes being implemented to our physical premises and to our operating model. In light of these changes, we are having to make some heart-breaking decisions about the future of the business and it is with huge regret that job losses are simply unavoidable.”

After confirming that 1,642 jobs are at risk, the Genting spokesperson stressed that the company was doing everything they can to ensure those risked employees are brought back. They said: “We will be doing everything we can to bring those individuals back in to the business at a later stage.

“The job retention scheme, however, is just that and therefore when it became clear to us that a significant number of roles could likely not be retained, it was only right to begin the redundancy consultation process rather than continuing to take the government money via the furlough scheme.”

Mick Rix, a national officer at the GMB trade union, criticised the announcement, saying: “This announcement by the company is nothing short of outrageous. It’s a serious slap in the face to loyal and long-serving staff – as well as UK public. Taxpayers’ cash has funded Genting to the tune of millions of pounds during lockdown: now they are making people redundant rather than contribute towards the government furlough scheme from the end of August.”

Although Genting is closing three of its UK venues, the company’s online websites continue to operate as normal.

Casino Uncertainty

The news comes days after Buzz Bingo announced that it was permanently closing 26 of its bingo halls across the nation and axing hundreds of jobs over similar reasons. The company, however, has planned a staggered re-opening for the remainder of its 91 bingo halls from August 6th.

Genting’s announcement also comes after Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) Chief Executive Michael Dugher issued an open letter to Rishi Sunak earlier this month, urging the chancellor to provide clarity on when the casino industry can expect to open up. The letter reads:

“The UK casino sector were sorely disappointed not to be included in the list of industries allowed to open on 4 July. The support from HM Treasury, such as the Job Retention Scheme, has been extremely welcome, however support for casinos is costing the Exchequer around £5 million per week while they are closed.”

Dugher continues: “Casinos want to get back in business and once again [be] contributing to the economy, not costing the Exchequer money. Last year, casinos paid over £.5.7 million in tax per week. With phased reductions in wage support kicking in soon, there is however a real fear that if re-opening doesn’t happen in July there will be severe damage caused to the casino industry.

“To our knowledge, casinos have met all COVID safety requirements and yet they are still not permitted to open. We urgently ask for your help to get casinos re-opened and back to contributing to the UK economy.”

Dugher ended the letter by saying: “Having made the necessary preparations for a July opening, casinos are ready and able to open at the earliest opportunity. We would greatly appreciate any help you can give to get our businesses back open and contributing to the UK economy.”

BGC’s Tribute To Kenny Alexander

The Betting and Gaming Council issued a statement this week in tribute to Kenny Alexander who announced yesterday (July 16th) that he is stepping down as Chief Executive at GVC Holdings, one of the UK’s biggest gambling operators and the owner of Ladbrokes Coral.

Alexander’s departure takes place today and the businessman says he made the decision to leave in order to spend more time with his family. He said: “I have spent the last four months working from home and reflecting on my future plans, and this feels like the right moment.”

In a statement, the BGC highlighted Alexander’s achievements and applauded his contributions to the UK’s gambling industry. The company said: “Kenny’s phenomenal achievements in business speak for themselves. He has grown a company into a FTSE 100 leisure and entertainment business under his outstanding leadership.

“Kenny helped create the Betting and Gaming Council because I know he understood that the whole industry needed to drive changes in the future and work for ever-higher standards. And as a great horses and football man, he understood his customers and he brought that authenticity, directness, and indeed an infectious sense of humour that we will all miss at the BGC. We wish him and his family all the very best.”

Kenny is being succeeded by Chief Operating Officer Shay Segev who joined the company back in 2006 following its acquisition of digital entertainment. Segev has been described as an “outstanding leader” by Alexander and believes the company “will be in good hands”.