With 300 betting shops and four casinos in Wales, the UK’s Betting and Gaming Council has asked the Welsh government to think again on its business relief programme, which does not include bookmakers and gambling companies in tax concessions.
Michael Dugher, CEO of the BGC, has asked Rebecca Evans, the First Minister of Wales, to recognise that there are 2,000 jobs at risk in the sector. Despite the actions of the rest of the UK, Wales is going its own way and not so far permitting betting shops and gambling venues to have local tax discounts.
Dugher’s letter said: “Without assistance with business rates relief, similar to that offered to other sectors in Wales, including other parts of the hospitality, leisure and entertainment industries, there is a real danger that betting shops and casinos will permanently close, leading to the direct loss of over 2,000 jobs in Wales.”
He said that the venues, both shops and casinos, faced financial ruin if there was no action by the Welsh Government, Senedd Cymru. Dugher made the comparison with England, where the bookies’ shops, bingo halls and casinos were “thrown a lifeline” by the UK government extending business rates relief to their venues as well.
“I don’t for a single second think that the Welsh government is saying that 2,000 workers in Wales who are employed in the regulated betting industry are less worthy of the support they get in England, but we urgently need a rethink on rates.
“These 2,000 jobs are hardworking men and women with bills to pay and families to care for. Their jobs are worth every bit as much as someone doing the same job in England.”