With the UK government’s public restrictions slamming the door shut on the hospitality industry for months on end – with no real end in sight as yet – it’s no surprise to learn that a number of casinos have permanently shut up shop.
Genting properties in Margate, Torquay, Southport and Bristol – all popular with tourists and locals alike – have confirmed that they will not reopen when they are allowed to do so, while the Rendezvous Casino in Southend-on-Sea, which forms part of the Caesars Entertainment group, will also cease trading.
Many punters have migrated their casino gaming online during the pandemic, which has seen land-based games houses shut their doors on and off for the best part of nine months, and the concern is that when the time is right and they are allowed to operate again there will be less footfall in high street casinos for the foreseeable future.
Casino operators themselves are feeling the pinch, and at the tailend of 2020 the Rank Group reported a downturn in pre-tax profit of around 50% year on year – from January to June, they recorded £15.4 million compared to the £34.6 million for the same period in 2019.
At the time of writing, here is a list of the casinos based in the UK that will no longer be taking bets.
Margate – Closed August 2020
The Margate branch of Genting was one of the first casinos to close permanently in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
The firm’s spokesperson confirmed that ‘job losses are simply unavoidable’ as they set about making cutbacks in the wake of a crippling loss in revenue, and the games rooms in Thanet were closed for good back in August.
Visitors to the casino could enjoy a range of American and electronic roulette tables, blackjack, three-card poker, slots and progressive jackpot games, as well as taking advantage of the Genting e-Tables.
The only crumb of comfort for locals is that the Grosvenor casino in Broadstairs, around 15 minutes away, remains open.
Torquay – Closed August 2020
Genting’s properties in the South West have been hit particularly hard by the virus, with significant job losses at their Plymouth branch following the complete closure of their Torquay casino.
The games house was immensely popular with the local student population, and prior to the 2020 closures more than 850 customers a week were passing through the venue’s front doors.
All employees lost their jobs in the casino’s closure, and they form part of the 1,600 Genting workers who have now been laid off in the past year alone.
It’s particularly frustrating for poker players in the area, with the Torquay branch selected as a host for the GentingBet Poker Series back in February 2020, which promised guaranteed prize pools of £35,000 at each event.
Bristol – Closed August 2020
The Portwall Lane premises was part and parcel of Bristol’s thriving nightlife, but that has come to an end after they were revealed as the third of Genting’s initial round of casino closures.
A spokesperson for Genting revealed the Bristol closure, stating:
“In light of these changes [made in 2020], we are having to make some heart-breaking decisions about the future of the business and it is with huge regret that job losses are simply unavoidable,” the statement confirmed.
“A significant number of those at risk of redundancy will remain on furlough, and we will be doing everything we can to bring those individuals back into the business at a later stage.”
The Portwall Lane property has already been sold by Genting to property development firm Create Real Estate, who plan to turn it into a ‘loft style workspace’.
Southport – Closed January 2021
The latest casualty of Genting’s cull appears set to be in Southport.
While not part of the original trio of closures, the firm has now confirmed that the Merseyside property will permanently close with the loss of 38 jobs.
“To date we have had to close three of our casinos as a direct result of the pandemic, and we are now proposing that Southport becomes the fourth,” Genting’s spokesperson said.
“We know what difficult news this will be for all of our hard-working colleagues in Southport and will do everything we can to support them at this challenging time.”
Southend-on-Sea – Closed June 2020
It’s not just Genting that have been forced to close some of their real estate, with Caesars Entertainment also forced to do likewise with their Southend-on-Sea property.
And so the Rendezvous Casino, which was found in the iconic Kursaal building, is closed along with the bowling alley in the famous night time building.
A statement read: “Caesars Entertainment UK, owners of Rendezvous Casino regret to announce that the casino will not be re-opening following the recent closure during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We have reluctantly taken this decision following difficult trading conditions in recent years, and the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic will have on future business levels.”
For now, the Genting casino in Southend remains open….