By Owain Flanders
In a complete U-turn on its decision last week, the UK Government has announced it will include the gambling industry in its 12-month 100% business rate holiday during the COVID-19 crisis.
Last week, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced the Government would be providing a business rate holiday for “every single shop, pub, theatre, music venue and restaurant and any other business in the retail, hospitality or leisure sector.”
The relief excluded the gambling sector, however, with bingo halls, betting shops and casinos classified as ‘financial services.’
This prompted the British Gaming Council (BGC) to condemn the decision in an open letter to the Chancellor.
The UK Government has since changed the ruling to include the gambling industry within the ‘leisure sector’ - qualifying it for the rates holiday.
In response to the decision, Michael Dugher, BGC CEO, said: “On top of the help on employment, extending help on business rates to all businesses that have had to shut down is another much-needed shot in the arm, which will help to protect tens of thousands of jobs.
“Our industry will in turn do its absolute upmost to help with the fight against the virus and play our part in this historic national effort, including offering up staff and premises to help.”