Matt Rudd, general manager Grosvenor Casino Birmingham, has added his voice “to thousands of others” by asking the government to allow casinos to reopen as soon as they possibly can.

Asserting that he is “acutely aware that our customers are eager to return,” Rudd comments amid persistent pleas made by the Betting and Gaming Council to respond “positively and quickly” to enable the region’s land-based casinos to return to action.

Commenting in a blog post on the BGC website, it follows the government’s latest easing orders for leisure and hospitality businesses last week, a move which left casino venues in the lurch with regards to their future schedules.

“Back in March, I put 73 of my colleagues into furlough as we closed our doors and played our part in the national effort to tackle the coronavirus,” Rudd says. 

“In the days that followed, I was eager to lead the local response to supporting frontline NHS staff, emergency services and other vulnerable groups by providing and delivering hot meals through Rank’s arrangement with the Blue Light Card scheme.

“My casino is very much part of the local community; lockdown didn’t change that – it simply gave us a new way of showcasing our community values.”

Spending the past month overseeing significant changes to the property, the casino has completed the widespread provision of social distancing measures and signage, and the installation of perspex dividers on gaming tables, slots and electronic roulette terminals. 

Hand sanitisers have been delivered and protective equipment is in place for customers and colleagues, with new COVID-secure measures in place for the handling and cleaning of gaming chips and cards, and ID requirements ensuring compliance with the government’s Track & Trace programme.

“I’ve taken the opportunity to look around what else is happening here in Birmingham and am delighted that we appear to have gone the extra distance to ensure that customers will receive the safest possible welcome and experience when we’re finally allowed to unlock our doors,” Rudd notes.

“I’m adding my voice to thousands of others by asking the government to allow us to reopen our casinos as soon as they possibly can.

“I’m also acutely aware that our customers are eager to return. In recent days I’ve been fielding more and more calls from many of our regulars who also can’t understand why casinos haven’t been allowed to reopen. I am confident that they will like what they find when we are given the green light.”

Adding: “We love working here on Broad Street and we’re straining at the leash to get back to giving our customers a safe and enjoyable experience. I can’t escape the fact that by virtue of remaining closed, we’re delivering no tax receipts to the Government. 

“We’re reliant on the furlough scheme and we’re not really contributing to the vibrancy of the local entertainment scene in this part of the city. That’s what we’re about and it is what we miss most.

“I know I’m not alone in feeling a bit frustrated, and I know that nothing is more important than the safety of our colleagues and customers. But the longer we remain closed, the more anxious I become.

“I gather the visit, a few days ago, to our Rialto casino in Central London from various government officials went well, so I’ve got my fingers crossed that we receive some good news really soon.”