Third English coronavirus lockdown forces gambling venues to close again

Casinos, betting shops and bingo halls across England have been forced to close their doors for a third time after Prime Minister Boris Johnson imposed a third national lockdown on England.

Speaking last night, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that England would be placed into its third national lockdown in order to slow the spread of coronavirus.

This comes after several regions in England were placed under Tier 4 restrictions following the discovery of a new strain of coronavirus that is significantly more transmissible.

Johnson said that the measures would be similar to those introduced in the first national lockdown from March last year. People in England are once again being ordered to stay at home and only leave for permitted reasons.

England’s third national lockdown

With England now entering its third lockdown, non-essential retail, hospitality and indoor entertainment venues will once again be forced to close their doors. This will include the temporary closure of casinos, betting shops and bingo halls.

Much like the first lockdown, schools, colleges and nurseries will also be required to temporarily close and switch to remote learning.

The lockdown will also require gyms, indoor and outdoor sports facilities to close, however, elite sporting events will be allowed to continue. 

During previous months, sports fans in tier 1 and 2 areas were permitted to attend sports events but now during this new lockdown sports fans will not be allowed to attend live events.

Johnson did not set an exact date as to when the restrictions would be lifted but did say the government intends to review the measures in mid-February. 

Similar lockdown restrictions were introduced in Scotland which will remain in place until the end of January. Wales and Northern Ireland already had lockdown restrictions in place prior to this announcement.

Land-based gambling sector continues to face challenges

Since the first lockdown was introduced in March 2020, the land-based gambling sector has faced several operational challenges.

During the initial lockdown, which ran from 23 March to June, the entire land-based gambling space and live sports industry came to a standstill. Betting shops were the first venues to reopen on 15 June, followed by bingo halls on 4 July and then casinos in August.

Shortly after the initial lockdown, the government’s introduction of the tiered system forced venues in Tier 3, and later Tier 4, areas to close their doors to the public once again. These facilities were forced to close despite pressure from the Betting and Gaming Council and several steps taken by the land-based sector to ensure they were Covid-secure.

A second national lockdown in November forced all gambling venues in England to close between 5 November and 2 December. After the second lockdown ended, venues in some areas which were placed in high tiers remained closed over the Christmas period.

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