Announcement made to UK workers
Genting Group has announced that it could potentially close the doors permanently on three of its UK casinos after suffering a loss of income because of the coronavirus pandemic and related lockdowns. The properties reported to be on the chopping block are in Torquay, Bristol, and Margate, although jobs will be lost across all UK venues and potentially worldwide.
One of the largest casino and entertainment companies in the world, Genting Group welcomes over 50 million visitors to its properties each year. According to the operator’s website, Genting has 42 casinos across the UK.
proposals to close three of the group’s casinos could be “just the start”
The leisure and hospitality union GMB represents the employees at the Genting casinos. After discussions with the company, they have warned that proposals to close three of the group’s casinos could be “just the start.”
Company leadership addresses problem
Currently, workers at Genting casinos are on furlough, receiving between 80% and 100% of their full pay thanks to the government’s Job Retention Scheme. Casinos in England will not reopen until July 4, at the earliest.
In a letter to staff, Genting UK president and COO Paul Willcock acknowledged that the company is looking at possible closures and redundancies. He blamed the COVID-19 outbreak for “unprecedented challenges” in the gambling industry.
forced to contemplate some very difficult options to ensure survival”
Willcock added that the pandemic has caused a “huge financial impact on our business and significant uncertainty for the foreseeable future. I am therefore forced to contemplate some very difficult options to ensure survival.”
Union fears local impact
GMB believes that the decision to close gambling outlets during the coronavirus crisis will lead to widespread job losses, hurting local communities the most.
In Torquay, a town in southwest England that relies mostly on the hospitality and leisure sector, the union is concerned that the closure of Genting Casino would damage an already fragile economy.
Matt Roberts, GMB Union South West regional organizer, said: “GMB will explore every avenue with Genting to try and keep these jobs, no matter how hopeless the situation in the sector may appear. We are disappointed that the Torquay site is one of only three in the country that is proposed to close fully.”