Rank Group urges UK government to extend wage support to protect jobs

The Rank Group has asked the government to urgently extend the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme for businesses, like theirs, significantly impacted by the latest government restrictions.

The Grosvenor Casinos operator has described the government’s decision to impose a 10pm blanket curfew on their venues as a “crippling blow” to the casino sector.

Rank had encouraged government to work with the industry to identify more effective, targeted measures to suppress the spread of the virus, including the early closing of casino bars, but are now calling on government to support them with the extension of wage and job support measures.

John O’Reilly, CEO of the Rank Group said: “A blanket 10pm curfew is a crippling blow to the casino industry. There is a misconception that our venues could be places where groups of young people gather to drink late at night. It’s simply not the case. The average spend, per customer, per visit, on food and drink in one of our casinos is £4.20 and the average age of a casino customer is 48. People are not coming to casinos to drink and yet we are now caught up in the curfew.

“Well over half of our revenues are generated after 10pm. That puts casinos in the unenviable position of being the most severely impacted industry by the government’s decision.

“The Prime Minister said that he will ensure that businesses can stay open in a Covid-compliant way. The only way we can stay open and survive is with an economic support package for over 4,500 Grosvenor colleagues who are now very concerned about their futures. An extension to the furlough scheme beyond 31st October is critical.

“The casino sector pays over £300 million in gaming duties to the Exchequer. We are proud of it and proud of the thousands of jobs we support, but unless the government reviews its decision or offers us the support we need to survive the months ahead, casinos will disappear for good with the inevitable impact on jobs and hundreds of millions of pounds in tax receipts.”