By Owain Flanders
Last week, the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) condemned the UK Government’s decision to exclude the gambling industry from its plans for a 100% 12-month business rate holiday.
In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, the Chancellor of the Exchequer pledged the relief to all companies within the "retail, hospitality or leisure sector."
However, this excluded casinos, bingo halls and betting shops, which were classified as ‘financial services.’
In response, the BGC wrote an open letter to the Chancellor, with many stakeholders in the industry agreeing with the sentiment of the letter.
Kevin Dale, Director of Gaming Monitor, tells Gambling Insider that, while there are clearly sectors that require more immediate relief, such as aviation, food and medicine, he believes the gambling industry should be treated equally with other leisure businesses, especially in light of the tax contributions it makes.
He said: "Gambling is a leisure pursuit like pubs or tourism and so should be treated equally.
"It’s certainly not cricket to re-classify gambling as finance to exclude the sector.
"Our offline business is largely dependent on sport, which is itself suffering through cancellations, and so on top of social-distancing this means we’re facing a double whammy. Jobs are at risk if no help is available."