The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has said “urgent action” is needed by the next Prime Minister to address the energy price hike crisis and protect the hospitality and leisure sector.
The group, which represents 95% of the UK’s regulated gambling businesses, said in its blog post that brick-and-mortar casinos and betting shops are being hit hard by soaring energy bills, just like the rest of the hospitality and leisure sector.
According to the BGC, Britain’s 6,500 betting shops and over 120 casinos support the sector, directly employ 44,000 people, and generate £2 billion in taxes each year.
Research carried out before the pandemic by ESA Retail found that 89% of those who visit brick-and-mortar gambling venues go on to visit other shops, suggesting how important casinos and betting shops are to the remainder of the hospitality and leisure sector.
However, the BGC has reiterated that, according to news reports, businesses are facing an average increase of 300% in their energy bills under new deals being offered, which could lead to closures of various gambling businesses.
In a statement, Betting and Gaming Council CEO Michael Dugher said: “The cost of simply doing business is rising at an exponential rate. If urgent action isn’t taken soon, continued energy price increases could have a catastrophic impact across the hospitality and leisure sector, including hitting our members.
“Casinos are a vital pillar of the hospitality and tourism sector in cities and towns across the UK. Just like the rest of the hospitality sector, they are struggling to build back after the global pandemic and now they face a new crisis.”
Dugher added: “Meanwhile, bookmakers, which play a critical role on the UK’s hard-pressed high streets, face similar challenges. In short, any business which welcomes customers into a building must grapple with this energy emergency.
“A range of interventions have been suggested to protect businesses and bill payers from the price hikes, but no specific measures have been taken to protect the hospitality and leisure sectors.”