Betting shops in England and Wales reopen

Betting shops in UK resume operations today.
Betting shops in UK resume operations today.

Betting shops in England, Wales and Northern Ireland can reopen from today. Those in Scotland remain closed until at least April 26.

UK.- Betting shops in England and Wales can reopen at of today (Monday April 12) under the first phase of the UK government’s roadmap out of lockdown.

Boris Johnson’s government had ordered the closure of non-essential businesses across England and Wales in December, although in many areas businesses were closed for longer due to tiered restrictions.

With today’s loosening of restrictions, betting shops will reopen in England, Wales or Northern Ireland, but they will remain closed in Scotland until at least April 26. Casinos and gaming halls in England must wait until May 17.

Among the protocols for the reopening in betting shops, there will be no live sports screening, no chairs and a maximum of two gaming machines allowed to be switched on, while customers will be limited to a maximum of two visits per day and shops must close by 8pm.

The number of customers allowed in a shop will depend on its size up to a maximum of eight. There will also be a limit on the time they are able to stay in a shop.

Howard Chisholm, managing director of independent firm Chisholm Bookmakers, which operates 35 shops in northeast England, told local press: “Everyone’s looking forward to it and getting back to the routine of opening up the shops to customers again. The staff are really pleased to be going back to work. We’ve been around all the shops making sure everyone’s prepared.

“We know with the restrictions it’s not going to be as sociable as it is normally, but we coped with the tier 3 restrictions before Christmas and the customers understand what needs to be done. Very few people come into a betting shop and spend all day there, or all day on the machines, so that shouldn’t affect things in the way people think it might.”

Michael Dugher, chief executive of the Betting and Gaming Council, said: “It’s great news that high street betting shops in England and Wales are finally able to re-open safely, along with the rest of non-essential retail.

“It’s been a long three months for betting shop staff, as well as their customers, and I know they are all looking forward to safely getting back to business thanks to the best-in-class anti-Covid measures in place.

The UK’s betting shops support 46,000 jobs and paid nearly £1bn in tax to the Treasury in 2020, while our members contribute £350m to horseracing through sponsorship, media rights and the betting levy”.

“This means that as well as providing a much-needed boost for the millions of people who enjoy a flutter, they will also be able to play a key role in the UK’s post-Covid economic recovery.”

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