The Chief Executive Officer of Rank Group Plc, industry veteran John O’Reilly, has stated his disbelief that the UK Government have not allowed the reopening of land based casinos on the 4th July. A date which will see other establishments allowed to reopen for the first time since lockdown commenced in March earlier this year.
With bingo venues given the green light to reopen on 4th July, yet not allowing casino properties to do the same, O’Reilly who has held senior executive positions at the likes of Ladbrokes and Coral, prior to joining Rank Group plc, finds the decision taken by the government as baffling.
Rank Group Plc are the largest operator of land based casino establishments in the UK and own and operate the Grosvenor and Mecca brands. Commenting on the fact casinos are still to remain shut under the government’s lockdown rules, O’Reilly stated: “Being excluded from the 4th July tranche of businesses, therefore, came as a blow.”
“We’re struggling to understand the rationale but rather than dwell on the injustice of the decision, I am keen to encourage members of the government and key decision-makers to come and witness, first-hand, what we are able to safely guarantee for colleagues and customers.”
“For every day that our Grosvenor casinos remain closed, the liquidity on our balance sheet is being drained. At the same time, we remain reliant on the Government’s furlough payments for the vast majority of our 4600 Grosvenor colleagues which is costing c.£1.5 million every week.”
“In short, we are asking the Government to quickly review the decision to keep casinos closed, to recognise the safety measures that are in place including our ability to identify every customer on our premises and who they may have interacted with, and to include us – as soon as possible – when the next opportunity for reopening is discussed.”
“In doing so, we’ll swiftly bring colleagues back to work who are itching to get back to work, we’ll give customers an ultra-safe and rewarding experience in our venues, and we’ll start to reverse the economic burden that is costing both government and our business more and more with each passing day.”