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Furious casino owner blasts ‘senseless’ and ‘unfair’ closure

Written by on 22/10/2020

A furious casino owner has hit out at the decision to close them as part of Tier 3 restrictions as “unfair” and an attack on the industry.

Jonathon Swaine, managing director of Rank Group, which owns Grosvenor Casino in Sheffield, believes that the rules are “grossly unfair” and says that it is a targeted attack on the betting and gaming industry.

All betting shops, casinos and adult gaming centres will have to close in South Yorkshire from Saturday due to the “very high” coronavirus restrictions being imposed on the area.

Mr Swaine believes that the move is “senseless”.

He said: “The enforced closure of our ultra Covid-secure casinos is senseless.

Grosvenor Casino in Sheffield

“At first we thought that the decisions being made were arbitrary but it’s now clear that our casinos are being subjected to an aggressive and needless attack by decision makers who clearly understand nothing of just how safe casinos are and appear determined to damage the land-based betting and gaming industry for the sake of it.

“Venues such as pubs are able to remain open and serve alcohol if they also sell a meal, which leaves gambling venues as the only ones ordered by government to shut up shop. It is grossly unfair.

“As well as operating to the very highest Covid-secure standards with robust evidence to support that position, casinos support huge numbers of jobs whilst paying up to 50 per cent tax rates to the Exchequer.

“We have offered to close our casino bars in exchange for permission to trade but are still being forced to close and we’re yet to see or hear of a single shred of evidence that supports that decision.

“It’s a targeted attack on betting and gaming premises, the tens of thousands of employees and customers in this sector and the time has come to call it out for what it is.”

The Tier 3 restrictions in South Yorkshire will come into place on Saturday and also mean that people will be banned from mixing with people not in their household or support bubble indoors. You can read the rules in full here.

Soft play areas will also have to close the doors.