In light of the Betting and Gaming Council’s recent plea to have casinos and betting shops reopen in Tier 3 areas, the regulator has welcomed the Government’s decision to let betting shops re-open in Tier 3 areas albeit with restrictions in place.
PM Boris Johnson has recently confirmed the details on how England will move forward from the national lockdown from December 3 onwards. The PM has detailed that betting shops would be allowed to operate but there would be some restrictions placed such as limits on customers in a particular shop at a particular time, the removal of seating fixtures and a ban on live sporting streams.
The restrictions placed on betting shops are on top of the stringent anti-Covid measures in place which include the installation hand sanitisers, perspex screens, track and trace systems and strict social distancing. Betting shops are the only part of non-essential High Street retail which must cease operations in Tier 3 areas.
Commenting on this news, the BGC’s chief executive, Michael Dugher commented that this announcement is great news for the sector’s stakeholders particularly customers in communities across large parts of England and for the thousands of people employed in high street betting shops. Dugher went on to highlight that the DCMS and overseeing ministers had battled hard for their sectors and sincerely thanked them for their efforts.
Dugher went on to say that with betting shops back in action, the betting industry will be able to contribute to the Exchequer and play their part in helping UK’s economic recovery.
In light of the betting industry’s green lighting, Dugher also commented on the return of spectators in live sports calling it a sensible step at just the right time. He detailed this by saying that albeit in limited numbers, the green lighting of spectators in Tier 1 and 2 areas is good news as the ban on crowds has been devastating for sports like horse racing and football.
However, Dugher expressed his disappointment that casinos will have to remain closed in Tier 3 areas. He expressed that it is extremely disappointing to hear that casinos are still being ordered to close in Tier 3 areas despite having the best anti-Covid measures in the hospitality industry. He further went to reiterate that ever since their reopening, casinos have been deemed safe by the DCMS and that there is no evidence that casino operations contribute to the R rate of the virus.
Dugher has vowed to keep fighting for the reopening of UK casinos saying that while the hospitality and gaming industry welcomes the decision to extend the curfew by an hour to 11 pm, the BGC will continue to make the case that casinos are uniquely exposed to any curfew and that the BGC will continue to press for their full and safe reopening in all parts of the country.
Last week, casinos have reached out to the government in a bid to have their business open in Tier 3 areas, voluntarily proposing measures to gain support. Dugher represented the sector and detailed that casinos are prepared to stop live games such as roulette, blackjack and poker. He further went on to say that casinos will further bring down their max operating capacity to twenty-five per cent and that they would stop selling alcohol entirely if allowed to remain open after the 10 pm curfew.