England: all betting shops to close under new lockdown

A new lockdown has been announced until December 2.
A new lockdown has been announced until December 2.

All 5,681 betting shops will have to close from Thursday under new pandemic measures.

UK.- Betting shops in England must close for a month from Thursday (November 5) under renewed lockdown measures announced by prime minister Boris Johnson at the weekend.

All 5,681 betting shops must close, along with all other businesses designated as non-essential, until December 2.

Retail venues were previously closed from March 20 until June 15 under the UK’s first Covid-19 lockdown.

However, unlike in the first lockdown, this time elite sports, including horseracing, will continue behind closed doors.

The period covers several major events for horseracing, including the November meeting at Cheltenham, Haydock’s Betfair Chase card and the Ladbrokes Trophy fixture at Newbury, as well as at least three rounds of Premier League football fixtures.

The economic impact of the new month-long closure is likely to reach to eight figures, the Racing Post estimated.

Jenningsbet, Britain’s largest independent bookmaker, said retail turnover still accounts for around a third of its revenue from racing.

Betting shops in some areas of England, including Manchester and Liverpool, have already been forced to close due to being placed under the highest tier of the nationwide three-tier restrictions. 

The Betting & Gaming Council has campaigned against the closures of both casinos and betting shops, claiming there was no scientific evidence to support the decision.

The Department for Health and Social Care has argued that betting shop customers have a greater likelihood of remaining in an enclosed space for an extended period of time, increasing the chance of contagion.

For now, it is assumed that betting shops in Scotland and Northern Ireland will remain open.

Bookmakers are eager to know what will happen from December 2 and whether all non-essential retail businesses will be allowed to reopen from that date, or whether the tier system of restrictions will still apply.

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