The British casino scene is set for a shakeup, with GentingBet set to close it’s UK operations. The Malaysian casino operator has decided that it is time to shut up shop on British shores, having taken the decision to close its online sportsbook from the 16th of August and its online casino a week later. On top of that, it is also putting 1,600 jobs at risk as it moves to close its clubs and hotels that are dotted around the United Kingdom. Given it boasts 27 casinos across the country, that will be a big loss to the market.
It appears as if the decision to close its UK-based operation is, in part at least, because of a move into Las Vegas and the ever-growing market in the United States of America. It’s also likely that Genting’s decision to close down in the United Kingdom could be because of lost revenue over the past year and a half, when casinos had to remain shut even as pubs, restaurants and bookmakers were able to open back up when restrictions began to be eased in the middle of 2020.
Reduced Trading Hours Led To Closing
There’s no question that any number of businesses have found it tough to operate over the past year or so. High street stalwarts like John Lewis and Boots moved to cut more than 5,000 shops between them in the wake of the enforced closure brought about by lockdown. Sales at Boots dropped by about 72%, whilst its high street opticians also missed out on around 48% of business compared to the same period the year before. Little wonder, then, that casinos are also suffering.
When Genting wrote to staff at its venues explaining what was to come, the company cited ‘temporary closure of business and reduced trading hours and changes to operating model’ as being behind the decision-making process. That was back in July of 2020, with things getting worse for the company in the twelve months or so that followed the initial cutting of more than 1,600 jobs. It wasn’t just its casinos that suffered, with clubs also facing shutdowns at the time.
No More UK Operations
When Genting wrote to affiliates recently they said, “Regrettably, Genting Malta Limited (T/A GentingBet) has taken the decision to close all licensed operations with effect from 23 August 2021. Genting Malta Limited (T/A GentingBet) will cease trading its sportsbook on 16 August and its online casino on 23 August 2021.” It meant that its online operation was following its land-based one and shutting down, resulting in customers having to withdraw any money in their accounts as soon as possible.
When the company released its end-of-year information and announced losses of £153 million for the year up to the 31st of December 2020, many will have seen that the writing was already on the wall. Over the same period the year before, Genting enjoyed profits of £39.5 million, showing just how much 2020 had been a damaging year for the Malaysian company when it came to its UK-based operation. At the same time, its revenue decreased from £305.2 million to £119.8 million.
The online gaming business of Genting Casino was transferred to Genting Malta in September of 2019. That was not enough of a move to stave off the difficulties of operating in such a tricky market, which is why the company has made a decision to end its association with the British market. This is in spite of the fact that the performance after its casinos reopened was ‘well ahead of expectations’, according to a statement that was signed off by the company’s board.
A Foray Into Las Vegas
Though Genting’s UK-based operation is being drawn to a close, the company is making moves to attack the ever-increasing US market. Resorts World Casino cost $4.3 billion dollars to build, taking years to make it through the process. Las Vegas arguably suffered more than most other cities in the United States of America during 2020, meaning that it needs some luck to go its way in order for it to bounce back from an ‘economically crippling shutdown’.
Resorts World was part of Sin City’s comeback, having been the first newly-built casino to open on the strip for a decade. Promising guests a 117,000-square-foot casino floor, an infinity pool that stretches over 1,800 square-foot and the ability to let customers gamble on slot machines without touching anything thanks to its state of the art app, its little wonder that the Malaysia-based company is feeling confident about its ability to make inroads into the lucrative US market.
For British punters, that will be scant consolation. It was one of the largest casino operators in the United Kingdom, meaning that bettors up and down the country will be disappointed at its ever-shrinking presence as well as its disappearance from the online gambling world. A GMB officer named Mick Rix called it a ‘serious slap in the face to loyal and long-serving staff’, to say nothing of the UK tax payers who have seen their money contribute ‘millions of pounds’ to Genting thanks to the furlough scheme and the likes.
Even so, for the company itself there won’t be too many tears shed. The new resort that they’ve opened in Las Vegas has 3,500 hotel bedrooms to offer guests, as well as a 5,000 seat theatre that will allow it to have mega-shows on on a regular basis. This is in part thanks to its partnership with Hilton Worldwide, which has three hotels in the resort. Las Vegas as a city will also be cheering on Genting’s offering, given the manner in which Macau overtook it as the world’s gambling centre in 2007.