BGC criticises Scottish restrictions

The Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh. The BGC is calling on the Scottish parliament to ease restrictions.
The Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh. The BGC is calling on the Scottish parliament to ease restrictions.

UK trade organisation the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has criticised “draconian” restrictions imposed on betting shops reopening from lockdown.

UK.- The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has criticised the Scottish government’s tough reopening restrictions as it estimates turnover at betting shops has fallen by 95 per cent.

Betting shops in Scotland have had to meet a range of tight restrictions since reopening on June 29. These include removing all seating, turning off gaming machines and not screening live racing.

The BGC says the restrictions are hurting businesses that were already struggling after weeks of closure. It estimates that turnover at betting shops in Scotland is down by 95 per cent compared to before the lockdown and warns that the restrictions could lead to permanent closures.

The BGC noted that the restrictions imposed on Scotland’s 900 betting shops were stricter than those imposed on betting shops in England.

It said the restrictions could also hurt Scottish racing because of the loss of media rights payments from betting shops because of the ban on screening races in stores.

BGC Chief Executive, Michael Dugher, said: “Our members warned in advance the draconian restrictions being proposed by the Scottish government were unnecessary and would have a devastating impact on their businesses – sadly they have been proved right.

“I understand that we need to restrict numbers in shops, but that can be done at the entrance, just like with any other high street retail shop in Scotland or as is the case in every other betting shop elsewhere in the UK.

“Scottish betting shops are bracing themselves for closures and there are thousands of jobs at stake unless Nicola Sturgeon re-thinks.

“I’ve seen how betting shops elsewhere in the UK have been able to re-open perfectly safely with social distancing and anti-Covid measures like screens and hand sanitisers, and the exact same measures are in place in Scotland. We would urge Nicola Sturgeon to intervene before it’s too late.”

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