Top-Up Payments to Licensed Bingo Clubs and Casinos
Name of Grant:
Top Up Payments To Licensed Bingo Clubs And Casinos
Legal power used:
Section 126 of the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996.
The Top Up Payments to Licensed Bingo Clubs and Casinos were introduced by the Scottish Government in 2021 as a mechanism for directing further financial support to businesses in sectors experiencing particularly acute financial challenges as a result of Covid-19. This one-time grant was developed as a continuation of the Strategic Business Framework Fund; in order to be eligible the businesses must have already been in receipt of SFBF payments.
Crucially, the objective of this fund was to support businesses in remaining financially viable for the period restrictions were in place and was not intended to replace lost income or to cover operating losses incurred. Licensed Bingo Clubs and Casinos were eligible for a one-off grant of up to £50,000 depending on their Rateable Value.
The extraordinary measures taken by the Scottish Government to protect the right to life and right to health for the people of Scotland throughout the Covid-19 pandemic have placed unprecedented pressures on Scotland’s economy and business community. Health protection regulations required certain businesses to close or placed specific restrictions on their operations at different times between March 2020 and August 2021. Many others were impacted by significant reductions in demand due to these restrictions or as a result of the introduction of domestic and/or international travel restrictions.
Since the start of the pandemic, the Scottish Government has spent £4.3 billion in providing direct financial support to those businesses impacted by Covid-19 restrictions and regulation. As the impacts of restrictions were felt differently across the business community, varying according to factors such as sector and location, a range of different funding streams were developed to target financial support towards specific sectors or types of business based on the challenges they were experiencing as a result of the pandemic. Given the unprecedented challenges presented by Covid-19 it was necessary to develop financial support schemes at pace to ensure that funds were distributed rapidly in the interests of preventing business closures and preserving jobs. The Top-Up payments to Licensed Bingo Clubs & Casinos were no exception to this although, as with other funds, we have maintained a commitment to review the delivery of these funds and to update policy where necessary.
The variable impact of the pandemic on different demographic groups in Scotland and the inequalities created by this are well understood. Throughout the pandemic the Scottish Government has taken measures to mitigate these inequalities where possible. In line with its responsibilities under the Public Sector Equality Duty, as enshrined in the Equality Act 2010. In developing the Top-Up payments to Licensed Bingo Clubs & Casinos and other similar funds, the Scottish Government has considered how it can eliminate unlawful discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not. In doing so, the Scottish Government drew on a wide range of sources to understand the impact of restrictions on those with protected characteristics including statistics published by both the Scottish Government and the Office of National Statistics as well as insights from the Annual Population Survey, the Department of Business, Enterprise and Industrial Strategy’s Longitudinal Small Business Survey as well as from organisations such as Close the Gap and the Social Metric Commission.
Every effort is made to ensure that Equality Impact Assessments (EQIA) are published timeously. However, the speed at which it has been necessary to ensure mechanisms are in place for supporting businesses impacted by Covid-19 restrictions has resulted in delays to completing EQIAs for a number of business support funds.
Key Findings - impact assessment of benefits and/or disadvantages.
By distributing financial support through this fund the Scottish Government acted to mitigate the impact of the regulations on Licensed Bingo Clubs and Casinos in order to support them in remaining financially viable while restrictions were in place which required them to remain restricted or closed. In doing so, this assessment shows that the Top-Up payments to Licensed Bingo Clubs and Casinos acted to advance equalities by protecting businesses in sectors that impact on the lives of those with protected characteristics disproportionately. Alongside the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and the Strategic Framework Business Fund (SFBF), the Top-Up Payments to Licensed Bingo Clubs and Casinos protect and preserve jobs in sectors which employ a disproportionately high number of people from among groups with protected characteristics particularly young people, women and minority ethnic groups. Data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) shows that minority ethnic groups, women and young people have a significantly higher likelihood of being employed in the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure sectors than they are within other sectors of the economy. Financial support distributed through the Top-Up payments for Licensed Bingo Clubs and Casinos also targeted those sectors which have instances of insecure employment and low pay and are least resilient to financial shocks. It is worth noting that data from the Department of Business Energy and Industrial Strategy’s (BEIS) Longitudinal Small Business Survey shows that a high proportion of businesses across the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors (78%) identified as having employees with protected characteristics. More detail on this is provided in the assessment against individual groups with protected characteristics is set out below.
But the SFBF and its associated funds do not only advance equality by preserving jobs, they also protect businesses in sectors where there is a disproportionately high number of women-led and ethnically minority-led businesses thereby protecting the livelihoods, assets and investments of those with protected characteristics. Data shows that the proportion of women-led and minority ethnic-led businesses across the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure sectors is higher than the average across all other sectors. Statistics from BEIS also show, however, that businesses within the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure sectors are significantly more likely to operate from specific business premises that are liable for Non-Domestic Rates. An average of 85% of firms across these three sectors identify as operating from designated business premises, 6% higher than the average across all sectors of the economy.
By supporting businesses required to close or adapt their operations as a result of regulations, the funding provided through the Top-Up payments for Licensed Bingo Clubs and Casinos will necessarily go towards businesses within the leisure sector which are more likely to be owned by and/or employ people from groups with protected characteristics and in doing so will contribute towards advancing equality by helping to prevent against business closures and job losses in these sectors.
This assessment identified opportunity to eliminate discrimination by implementing the Licensed Bingo Clubs and Top-Up payments by supporting a sector which employs a significantly higher than average number of young people.
Fostering good relations
Businesses within the Leisure sector are important spaces for social and community interaction providing an opportunity for engagement across and between groups with protected characteristics and helping to foster good relations between these groups. Businesses in the Leisure sector promote engagement between and across groups in a number of ways. As well being shared spaces, as highlighted above, there is a clustering of several different groups with protected characteristics in the Leisure sector including young people, women, minority ethnic groups and those experiencing socioeconomic disadvantage. By sharing workplaces this promotes close interaction and engagement between these groups including those with intersecting protected characteristics. In providing financial support to businesses in these sectors to remain financially viable through the restrictions, the Scottish Government is therefore acting to foster good relations between groups with protected characteristics.
Age: Older People and Children and Young People
There is extensive research on the detrimental impacts of restrictions introduced to control the spread of Covid-19 on children and young people. Particular attention has been paid to the impact of restrictions on the incomes and career prospects of young people both of which have been specifically recognised by the Scottish Government.
Employment figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show the extent to which the impacts of Covid-19 on the labour market in Scotland have fallen disproportionately on young people many of whom are employed in sectors subject to restrictions including the hospitality, leisure and retail sectors which were all required to close or modify their operations through the Strategic Framework.
Whilst data specifically relating to people employed by Bingo Halls and Casinos is not available, 2019 data from the ONS related to the employment of young people shows the following:
- Leisure - 27% of employees working in the sport, amusement and recreation sector are aged between 16 – 24. This is compared to a market average of 12.3% across other sectors.
The 2017 ONS Annual population also provided further information:
- Gambling and Betting – Approximately 18.4% of people employed in Gambling and Betting businesses were aged 16-25.
On older people, data from the 2017 ONS Annual Population Survey provides the following data showing employment of people aged 55+
- Gambling and Betting – Approximately 15.2% of people employed in Gambling and Betting businesses were aged 55 or over. Compared to a market average of 19% across other sectors.
Overall, it can be seen that a significant number of young people are employed in this industry, higher than the market average across other sectors. This fund therefore acts to mitigate against the disadvantages young people will face as a result of Covid-19 restrictions.
Sex: Men and Women
An assessment of the restrictions introduced through the Strategic Framework similarly shows that, like young and older people, these also had a disproportionate impact on people based on sex primarily driven by two factors, high numbers of women-led businesses in the leisure sector as well as a clustering of female employment within these sectors.
2019 data from the ONS related to the employment of women shows the following:
- Leisure - 40% of employees working in the sport, amusement and recreation sector are women compared to an average of 48.8% across all sectors..
The 2017 ONS Annual population also provided further information:
- Gambling and Betting – Approximately 45% of people employed in Gambling and Betting businesses identified as Female.
We can see from the above figures that Licensed Bingo Clubs and Casinos tend to be typically male-led businesses with regards to the composition of their workforce, therefore this fund actively mitigates against the disadvantages men will face as a result of the Covid 19 restrictions in place that affect these sectors.
Furthermore, The Department of Business, Enterprise and Industrial Strategy’s Annual Business Population Survey (2019) shows that 16% of Leisure businesses are women-led. This is above the average number of women-led businesses across all sectors which is 14%.
This means that Men may suffer a disadvantage as a result of the eligibility criteria for the Licensed Bingo Halls and Casino top-up fund due to the disproportionate funding given to female led businesses.
The Department of Business, Enterprise and Industrial Strategy’s Annual Business Population Survey (2019) shows that 5% of leisure businesses are ethnic minority-led.. This is above the average number of ethnic minority-led businesses across all sectors which is 4%.
As a result of an above average number of ethnic minority-led businesses in the relevant sectors there does not seem to be much potential for disadvantages caused by the eligibility criteria for the Licensed Bingo Halls and Casino top-up fund faced by ethnic minorities.
Specific data on business ownership and employment by sector is not available to fully assess the impact of the Licensed Bingo Halls and Casino top-up fund on those with a disability.
Religion and Belief
No Discernible Impact
No Discernible Impact
Pregnancy and maternity
No Discernible Impact
No Discernible Impact
Marriage or Civil Partnership
No Discernible Impact
Socio-economic disadvantage: any people experiencing poverty
Sufficient data for pay in this sector was not available to assess the impact that the criteria for this fund would have on those from a lower socio-economic background.
However data from the Strategic Framework Business Fund equalities impact assessment stated that 81% of those working in hospitality and leisure have been negatively impacted, compared to just 16% in financial services.
As part of the Leisure sector bingo halls and casinos were therefore significantly more likely to be negatively impacted by Covid and failure to fund these businesses would likely result in a disadvantage to people experiencing poverty.
We have engaged extensively with businesses and their representative organisations during the pandemic. In the year to March 202, the Scottish Government had more than 1,270 ministerial engagements with business, including virtual conferences, roundtables and calls.
Engagement with business leaders included regular communication with HMRC, CBI, FSB, IoD, SCC, SCDI, SFE, STUC, Scottish Retail Consortium, Scottish Tourism Alliance and Scotland Food and Drink etc.
This provided an opportunity to listen to stakeholder views, test ideas, share information about progress and discuss and address specific issues identified by sectors and individual businesses.
We also engaged directly with the Bingo Association and the Betting and Gaming Council regarding the impact of restrictions on licensed Bingo Clubs and Casinos and who also provided additional information on the average operating costs associated with running their premises.
This is a sector specific top-up fund for Businesses already paid out via the Strategic Framework Business Fund, businesses from other sectors will have received Business Support funding via other grants and funds helping to mitigate the inequalities potentially faced as a result of the eligibility criteria for this fund.
Next Steps (if any)
Declaration and Publication
I have read the Equality Impact Assessment and I am satisfied that it represents a fair and reasonable view of the expected equality impact of the measures implemented.
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