Sheffield casino boss slams 'targeted attack' after being forced to close - but bingo hall is staying open

A Sheffield casino boss has claimed the forced closure of his business represents a ‘senseless’ and ‘targeted’ attack on the industry.

Thursday, 22nd October 2020, 11:59 am

Jonathon Swaine, managing director of Rank Group, which owns Grosvenor Casinos, made the claim after the Government announced casinos, betting shops and adult gaming centres in Sheffield must shut from midnight on Friday.

He said: “The enforced closure of our ultra Covid-secure casinos is senseless.

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Jonathon Swaine, Managing Director of Rank Group.

“At first we thought that the decisions being made were arbitrary but it’s now clear that our casinos are being subjected to an aggressive and needless attack by decision makers who clearly understand nothing of just how safe casinos are and appear determined to damage the land-based betting and gaming industry for the sake of it."

Mr Swaine said the company has offered to close casino bars in exchange for permission to trade – but this was rejected and their Duchess Road casino will subsequently be among those closing.

He added: “We’re yet to see or hear of a single shred of evidence that supports that decision.

Grosvenor Casino Sheffield has been forced to shut.

"It’s a targeted attack on betting and gaming premises, the tens of thousands of employees and customers in this sector and the time has come to call it out for what it is.”

On Wednesday, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Robert Jenrick, said the Tier 3 restrictions imposed on Sheffield will be reviewed in 28 days’ time on 18 November.

A Rank Group spokesperson confirmed Mecca Bingo on Flat Street, which is owned by the same company, is allowed to remain open.

Mr Swaine said the enforced closure of 'ultra Covid-secure casinos is senseless'.