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How UK Post-Brexit Immigration Policy Will Impact Casinos

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Casinos are being affected by the post-Brexit immigration policy.

Following the UK’s departure from the European Union via Brexit, the sovereign country is trying to find its feet among a wave of policies that must be formalized. For example, the UK’s immigration policy is being adjusted, and its rules may become more strict.

There is speculation that the post-Brexit UK isn’t prepared to operate successfully without the resources of the European Union. The UK Betting and Gaming Council (a gambling industry trade association) released a report claiming that the UK’s new immigration policies will negatively impact the gambling industry. 

Let’s take a closer look at the issue at hand: the UK is planning on implementing a new “points-based” policy in the immigration system; this new rule will be applied even to people who are emigrating from the EU. 

The plan is still in the works, but it is expected to take effect on January 1st of 2021. When the policy is implemented, immigrants will only be able to receive a work visa if they can earn points for certain criteria — for example, their level of education, fluency in English, and other matters. If they don’t have enough points, they would lose their employment eligibility. 

How Will the Policy Affect Casinos?

Why is this a problem for the UK’s casinos? Well, many casino employees will not be approved to retain their work visas; according to the UK Betting and Gaming Council, foreigners make up to 70% of the total casino croupiers in the U.K — many of whom may not earn the required number of points to keep their visa. The ineligible croupiers will lose their jobs if the plan is implemented, which will significantly impact casino operations, as well as the UK’s tourism and hospitality sectors. 

Currently, UK casinos have over 14,000 direct employees, but they also indirectly support 4,000 additional jobs. Furthermore, the employees’ tax contributions are enormous; the UK directly reaps over £300,000 from them in tax revenue annually. 

The proposed points-based system, coupled with the stricter gambling rules that are now in effect, has caused much concern that the UK’s casino industry will fall behind their competitors — namely, Asia, as well as other parts of Europe. 

Michael Dugher, who is the CEO of the BGC, gave a statement on the topic; he is of the belief that implementing the new immigration policy will not only be detrimental to casinos, but will also damage the UK’s economy. Dugher believes that UK casinos need to have the ability to hire the best employees from around the world. 

Is There a Solution?

Amidst the concerns over the proposed immigration policy, perhaps there is a solution. The BGC is pushing for the UK government to create an exception for employees of certain casinos and hospitality sectors. This is not an unprecedented move; there are already pre-existing exemptions for other sectors in current immigration policies. This gives hope that casino croupiers may be able to keep their job, and that the blow to the UK’s economy will be softer. 

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