The government has decided to allow betting shops in all regions to reopen once the current lockdown ends.
UK.- All betting shops in England will be allowed to reopen from December 3, including those in areas with the highest numbers of Covid-19 infections.
In some areas, spectators will be allowed to return to sports events.
Prior to the current nationwide lockdown in England, the government had created a three-tier system under which regions in the highest tier would be forced to impose strict measures including the closure of many non-essential businesses.
Those restrictions initially included the closure of betting shops and casinos, but the government has decided that betting shops will now be allowed to open under tier three.
Casinos, for now, will still be forced to close although the previous 10pm curfew on all hospitality venues will be extended to 11pm.
Meanwhile, regions in tiers one and two will be able to allow spectators to return to sports events for the first time since March.
Venues in tier one regions will be able to receive up to 4,000 spectators or 50 per cent of their capacity in outdoor stadiums and racecourses.
In tier two up to 2,000 spectators will be allowed at outdoor venues. At indoor venues, the limit will be 1,000 people in both tiers. The tier system is now expected to remain in place until March at the earliest.
Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) chief executive Michael Dugher welcomed the decision to allow betting shops to reopen but called for casinos to be able to open in tier three areas too.
He said: “Casinos are best-in-class amongst the hospitality sector when it comes to anti-Covid measures; there is no evidence that they contribute to the spread of the virus.
“We do welcome the decision to extend the hospitality curfew by an hour to 11pm, but we will continue to make the case that casinos are uniquely exposed to any curfew and we will press for their full and safe reopening in all parts of the country.”
Racecourse Association chief executive David Armstrong welcomed the decision to allow a partial return of spectators to sports events.
He said: “Even with limited numbers, racecourses can start to re-open facilities for race-goers, hospitality guests and owners.
“Work continues to prepare for larger-scale pilots across the sports sector and racing will continue to play a key role in this vital recovery phase.”