Vital for the economy
The UK Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) is calling on the region’s next Prime Minister to protect the leisure and hospitality sectors from significant energy price rises. The industry standards body for the regulated gaming and betting industry in the UK issued a press release on Monday outlining its concerns for land-based casinos and betting stores.
Currently, there are about 6,500 betting stores and 121 casinos in the UK. They are the direct employers of 44,000 individuals, as well as helping to support another 48,000 jobs. According to BGC figures, these businesses contribute about £4bn ($4.7bn) annually to the UK economy, as well as providing tax worth about £2bn ($2.35m) every year.
energy price increases of about 300%
One of the BGC’s biggest concerns is the survival of independent betting stores. There are 537 such establishments in operation across the UK, employing more than 2,700 people. Over the past five years, more than 200 independent betting stores have had to close. As a result of the ongoing worldwide energy crisis, businesses have to deal with reported average energy price increases of about 300%.
An urgent matter
Just last week, the UK-focused casino and bingo operator Rank Group outlined how energy costs in its most recent full financial year had reached £23m ($27m), £10m ($11.8m) more than the previous year. The company estimates that with the current rise in energy prices, costs for its next financial year might reach £46m ($54m).
could have a catastrophic impact”
Commenting on the energy crisis, BGC chief executive Michael Dugher said the cost of doing business for land-based gambling operators is rising exponentially. He believes if the UK authorities do not take urgent action that rising prices “could have a catastrophic impact across the hospitality and leisure sector, including hitting our members.”
Dugher noted that casinos are a foundational part of the tourism and hospitality sectors in cities around the UK. Following pandemic-related struggles, these businesses are now facing a whole new headwind
Plenty of political turmoil
Although UK politicians have suggested a number of measures to help protect taxpayers and businesses from major energy price rises, they have not taken any significant steps to safeguard the leisure and hospitality sectors, according to the BGC. The body said this is especially concerning for businesses as they get ready to head into the wintertime.
Due to ongoing political turmoil in the UK, it looks like no progress on the matter will come any time soon. The search for a new Prime Minister has even meant that the long-awaited white paper on the UK’s gambling legislation has been delayed once again. MPs expect the new Prime Minister to be announced on September 5.