The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has urged the UK Government to act on the crisis associated with local people’s cost of living, as the leisure and hospitality sector sees a significant increase in its operating costs. According to the trade body of the local gambling industry, the next Prime Minister needs to take urgent action in order to protect the hospitality and leisure sector from the detrimental impact of the energy price increase.
The boss of the trade body, which currently represents 95% of the regulated gambling and betting businesses that operate in the UK, explained that betting shops and brick-and-mortar casinos were suffering the catastrophic consequences of the soaring energy bills, along with the rest of the country’s hospitality sector.
Reportedly, there are 6,500 high-street betting shops on the territory of Britain, as well as 121 casino venues supporting the hospitality and tourism sector. Together, the brick-and-mortar casinos and high-street betting outlets employ 44,000 individuals and support a further 48,000 jobs, and bring a contribution of about £4 billion to the country’s economy, while at the same time generating annual tax revenue worth £2 billion. These figures include more than 530 independent betting shops that employ 2,700 people.
More than 200 independent LBOs have been forced to cease operation over the last 5 years – a move that resulted in the closures of more than 50 businesses in the UK.
Rising Energy Costs Could Have Detrimental Impact on Gambling Businesses, Michael Dugher Says
According to the results of research carried out by ESA Retail before the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, 82% of their customers visited no less than once a week, while 89% of them were visiting other betting shops in the same area, too.
However, recent news reports claim that amid the ongoing global energy crisis, businesses are facing average increases estimated at about 300% thanks to some new deals being offered.
Michael Dugher, the CEO of the Betting and Gaming Council, has issued his warning after one of the leading giants in the local gambling sector – Rank Group – last week revealed that its energy costs for the last financial year were estimated at £23 million, up from £13 million. At the time when the company published its report, it also shared some concerns that its energy costs could reach £46 million at the current market prices this year.
Mr Dugher warned that the cost of doing business is constantly rising, so he called for the Government and the next Prime Minister to take urgent action in order to prevent the catastrophic impact on the leisure and hospitality industry, including the gambling companies that offer their services in the UK. The boss of the UK gambling industry’s trade body emphasised the fact that casinos were considered an important pillar of the hospitality and tourism sector in the country and they were facing difficulties to return to pre-pandemic levels, only to face a new crisis. Similar challenges are also faced by sports betting operators, Mr Dugher warned.
Various interventions have been suggested as part of the measures aimed at protecting businesses and bill-payers from the negative impact of constantly increasing prices, but so far, the UK Government has not taken any specific measures to protect the aforementioned sectors of the economy.
Daniel Williams has started his writing career as a freelance author at a local paper media. After working there for a couple of years and writing on various topics, he found his interest for the gambling industry.