According to Casinos de France trade union, from 15 December onwards, the French land-based gambling industry will be allowed to reopen its doors albeit in strict compliance with the French government’s guidelines.
Last 30 October, France entered its second national lockdown. The lockdown was expected to last until 1 December and only essential industries and businesses were allowed to operate. Non-essential businesses such as those operating in the entertainment and gambling industry were forced to remain closed.
The reopening of casinos was deemed necessary by the union as It has described this as an essential factor in the French people’s well-being and as well as a force that will aid the nation’s economic recovery.
According to Casinos de France, the gambling industry was one of the first industries to introduce a strict health protocol when venues initially reopened in June, following the first phase of lockdown in the region. Since then, stringent measures were implemented. These include the use of face coverings, physical barriers and regular disinfection.
Casino de France further added that casinos are willing to go an extra mile to ensure the safety of its customers and stakeholders. Upon reopening, casinos will have to enforce stricter limits on capacity, and as well as mandatory registration of customers which will allow traceability in accordance with the GDPR. The union also recommended further measures and these include the increase of machine and table disinfection frequency, the implementation of automated technologies such as the touch tracing application of France, “TousAntiCovid” and as well as taking consumer temperatures upon entry.
Casinos de France also highlighted the economic impact of the gambling sector, pointing out the fact that the casino industry represents 15,000 direct jobs, 45,000 indirect jobs and generates £1.26bn per year in taxes, including £359m for local communities.
The union also claimed that casino closures have led to the increase in the use of unlicensed online operators, and further stated that the quick reopening of casinos would therefore have a positive impact on health and public order.
In light of this news, the UK’s own land-based betting industry has been given the green light but the same cannot be said for its land-based casino industry. Micheal Dugher, the BGC’s chief executive, has expressed his disappointment that casinos will have to remain closed in Tier 3 areas. He expressed that it is extremely disappointing to hear that casinos are still being ordered to close in Tier 3 areas despite having the best anti-Covid measures in the hospitality industry. He further went to reiterate that ever since their reopening, casinos have been deemed safe by the DCMS and that there is no evidence that casino operations contribute to the R rate of the virus.
Earlier this November, casinos have reached out to the UK government in a bid to have their business open in Tier 3 areas, voluntarily proposing measures to gain support. Dugher has represented the sector and detailed that casinos are prepared to stop live games such as roulette, blackjack and poker. He further went on to say that casinos will further bring down their max operating capacity to twenty-five per cent and that they would stop selling alcohol entirely if allowed to remain open after the 10 pm curfew.