The Betting and Gaming Council has praised the Welsh government’s science-led approach to lifting lockdown restrictions and has urged England’s government to follow suit.
Betting shops and casino reopen in Wales
Yesterday, 360 betting shops and four land-based casinos were given the green light to reopen their doors to the public with a range of coronavirus measures in place to protect customers.
According to the BGC, this has allowed the 2,000 betting shop and casino employees in Wales to safely return to work and continue contributing to the Welsh economy.
However, in England, all casinos, betting shops, non-essential retail, hospitality and leisure facilities remain closed as part of a nationwide lockdown which is set to run until 2 December. The English government has said that after the lockdown ends, the country will move back to the three-tier system for classifying the risk posed by the coronavirus.
BGC urges England to follow Wales’ example
In its statement, the BGC has warned that some betting shops may not be able to reopen immediately after lockdown if the country goes back to a three-tier system.
Under the highest of the tiered measures, bookmakers will face similar restrictions to hospitality venues, which means that they will have to remain closed even though the government has officially classified them as non-essential retail businesses.
Before England entered its second lockdown, casinos were ordered to close their doors to the public at 10 pm in an attempt to limit the number of visitors. The decision was met with criticism from the land-based gambling industry after venues had implemented a variety of coronavirus safety measures.
The BGC reminded the government that casinos and betting shops were able to safely reopen their doors to the public in the summer and highlighted that the businesses contribute vital tax revenue to the exchequer.
Michael Dugher, BGC chief executive, said: “The decision to re-open betting shops and casinos across Wales is hugely welcome and demonstrates the confidence of the Welsh Government in the safety measures they have in place. It means 2,000 staff will now get back to work and our members can get back to serving their customers.
“We are now urging the UK Government to also recognise the lengths to which betting shops and casinos have gone to make sure they are Covid-secure and, when the English lockdown ends, allow them to safely reopen from day one.”