Rumors appear to be true
Though some live poker venues have started to reopen around the world, poker rooms at Genting casinos in the United Kingdom will remain closed permanently, even after COVID-19 pandemic restrictions are lifted.
Genting has yet to make an official announcement, but PokerNews reported on Tuesday that an employee at Genting Resorts World Casino in Birmingham confirmed the news to the outlet. Staff there was told:
Genting will cease all live poker in their casinos.”
That same person said that their property will see 98 positions shed and anywhere from 20 to 50 employees will be laid off at each of Genting’s 42 properties in the UK.
A poker room manager at a different Genting location also confirmed closures, posting on his Facebook page: “Thank you to all our poker players, hope you have a great experience. Thoughts to all my colleagues (family) that didn’t deserve this (although in current climate it was kind of expected) you are all superstars and proud to have had you in our team.”
Rumors of the Genting decision bounced around Twitter on Monday, with multiple people who appeared to be poker room employees lamenting the turn of events. It was not until Tuesday, however, that PokerNews was able to get confirmation, despite the lack of a formal press release.
Genting already considering casino closures
With casinos in England not permitted to open until July 4, Genting has already announced that it may close three of its UK locations: Torquay, Bristol, and Margate. Leisure and hospitality union GMB warned employees, whom it represents, that the three possible closures could be “just the start.”
In a letter to staff, Genting UK president and COO Paul Willcock stated the obvious: “The Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic has caused unprecedented challenges.”
significant uncertainty for the foreseeable future”
He added that it has created a “huge financial impact on our business and significant uncertainty for the foreseeable future.”
Willcock went on to admit: “I am therefore forced to contemplate some very difficult options to ensure survival.”
Fixtures in UK communities
Though Genting poker rooms have not been headliners in major global poker tours, they have always been an important part of the local poker scene in the United Kingdom. They have been known to employ caring staff and have been very much in tune with the needs of players as poker has evolved.
Genting card rooms have hosted the Genting Poker Series (GPS) since 2012. Again catering to locals, the stops in the Genting Poker Series were ultra-affordable, with Main Events priced at just £440 ($552.24). GPS stops tended to be short, as well, with just a handful of tournaments at most.
In the last couple years, many of the GPS stops had turned into single, £220 ($276.12) buy-in tournaments, some going as low as £80 ($100.41).