Finance

BGC welcomes leisure sector “lifeline” in 2021 UK budget

| By Daniel O'Boyle
Gambling industry body the Betting and Gaming Council has welcomed today’s budget from the UK Chancellor, which includes grants of up to £6,000 per premises for non-essential retail businesses including betting shops.

Grants of up to £18,000 will be available for venues that are only allowed to open later, such as casinos.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak also announced an extension of the government’s job retention scheme for furloughed employees and an extension of business rates relief.

The “restart grants” are intended to provide more certainty to businesses that faced closures

“These steps will help to support the 44,000 people who work in the retail betting shops and land-based casinos,” the BGC said.

BGC chief executive Michael Dugher said he was glad to see the Government provide support after a difficult 2020 where thousands lost their jobs.

“We have already seen over 5,000 jobs lost and 375 businesses closed since the start of last year,” he said. “The extension of the furlough scheme and new grants for businesses are strongly welcomed by the tens of thousands of people who work in high street betting and land-based casinos. 

“Without the continued support from the Chancellor, many of these businesses would have struggled to survive.

“The decision to extend the business rates relief will be welcomed by many of our member companies who have not been able to open properly for nearly a year now.

Dugher added that the betting and gaming industries would work to help the UK economy recover from the effects of the pandemic.

“Our industry will continue to play it’s part in the national effort to combat Covid, supporting our local communities, and we look forward to contributing to the economic recovery.”

Before the budget, the BGC presented a five-point recovery plan to the Chancellor.

This plan included requests to extend rates relief, avoid an increase in betting and gaming duties and ensure that the government adheres to its current timetable for easing restrictions if possible. It also called for devolved governments to make funding available to business sectors in need and for “measured” gambling regulation going forward.

Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter

BTG