The government of prime minister Boris Johnson has decided not to reopen the nightclubs and casinos of London in July. The venues are absolutely dissatisfied with this decision and call it ‘suicidal’. Gambling companies, casinos and nightclubs in London ask for more financial support.
‘Hibernation is coming to an end’
In July, Pubs, bars, restaurants, hotels and theme parks have opened their doors again. This is also the case for hairdressers and galleries. These venues have been closed for months because of the Covid-19 pandemic. According to Johnson, the ‘hibernation is slowly coming to an end’.
Nightclub- and casino owners are outraged
For many businesses it’s a big relief that they can finally reopen again. Nightclubs and casino owners are outraged though. They have nothing to celebrate since the government thinks that these places are too unsafe to reopen. The pubs are open, so people can finally have a drink, but the rest is not okay yet.
The night-time business in the United Kingdom
The night-time business is essential to the UK economy. It’s the fight-biggest industry and responsible for about eight percent of the employment in the country. Data from the NTIA also shows the annual revenues are 66bn pound! The decision to keep casinos and clubs closed will damage the night-time economy in London severely. These places contribute about 40 percent to the nightlife industry in the United Kingdom, which means about 40 billion pounds to the British economy on an annual basis.
Thousands of jobs might disappear
Other data from the Office for National Statistics are just as impressive: about 723.000 jobs are created by the night-time economy of London. However, many jobs will disappear because no one knows when the casinos and nightclubs in London will reopen. Hundreds of people love to get back to work, but now many jobs are at stake because there’s no clarity at all.
Alex Proud from Proud Camden: ‘absolute nonsense’
Alex Proud owns several nightclubs in London. One of the most popular names is Proud Camden. He calls the new guidelines ‘absolute nonsense’ and is very angry with the British government. What’s more: the nightclub owner things that the public is ‘being treated like children’. Proud also calls the decision to not reopen casinos and nightclubs a ‘disaster for London’ and fears that the magic of the British capital will soon disappear.
‘The nightmare goes on’
Proud isn’t sure the clubs and casinos in London still have a future. It might be the end of his own business. These places usually don’t have a space outside and are deemed ‘unsafe’. ‘The nightmare goes on’, Michael Kill said to the press. He’s the chief executive of the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA).
Hippodrome Casino owner reacts
The Hippodrome Casino is a very popular place in London, but its chief executive and chairman Simon Thomas is depressed and frustrated as well. To the press he said that the government ignores the fact that most nightlife venues can perfectly comply with the social distancing rules.
‘Social distancing is no problem’
Simon Thomas doesn’t understand why casinos can’t reopen, despite the fact that they can operate with the social distancing rules. Two metre and even one metre is no problem for these venues. He thinks that the government just doesn’t understand how casinos operate.
‘Perfectly willing to engage with the government’
Interestingly enough, it was Boris Johnson who opened the Hippodrome Casino in 2012. Back then Johnson was the mayor of London. He called the new place a ‘great place to invest’ and praised the casino for creating hundreds of new jobs. These times are long over. Casinos are not included in the wave of openings in London. However, Thomas is perfectly willing to engage with the government so that his place and other casinos can reopen again.
Important for UK economy and culture
Michael Dugher, chief executive of Betting and Gaming Council (BCG) was astonished when he heard about the decision of the British government. He calls it ‘nonsensical’ because casinos make a huge contribution to the British economy. Think about the many jobs they provide and the large amounts of tax revenue to the Treasury, for example. Casinos also play an important part in the cultural life of many communities in the country, Michael Kill from the NTIA said.