Scottish betting shops reopen

Casinos in Scotland are likely to have to wait until June to reopen.
Casinos in Scotland are likely to have to wait until June to reopen.

Scottish betting shops have reopened two weeks after retail betting outlets south of the border.

UK.- The gaming sector continues to reopen in the UK following the country’s winter Covid-19 lockdown.

After the reopening of betting shops in England and Wales two weeks ago, this week Scottish betting shops followed suit after four months of closure.

There are around 750 betting shops in Scotland, employing more than 4,000 people.

Michael Dugher, chief executive of trade association the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), said the reopening was “another step towards normality”.

He said: “Following the safe re-opening of betting shops in England and Wales earlier this month, Scottish shops getting back to business is another step towards normality and a welcome boost for jobs on the high street in Scotland.

“It’s great news for their staff and customers, and of course it is an important source of funding for horse racing. As we look forward to a great summer of sport, Scottish punters will once again be able to safely enjoy a flutter on the high street.”

Scottish bookmakers will continue to follow Covid-19 measures, such as the placement of hand sanitisation stations and Perspex screens in between customers. Gaming machines will remain switched off, television volume will be lowered and customers must provide contact details for the NHS track and trace service.

Casinos, bingo halls and adult gaming centres in England are expected to reopen on May 17, but those in Scotland look likely to have to wait until June at the earliest. The Scottish government has said casinos can only reopen when the country reverts to “level two” of Covid-19 restrictions, while pubs and restaurants can reopen at level three. 

The BGC and Scottish casinos have criticised the later reopening for casinos as unfair, absurd and lacking in scientific reason.

The BGC has stressed the financial contribution that the betting and gaming industry makes to the UK economy and to employment. It recently published a study by Ernst & Young that found the industry contributed gross added value of £7.7bn in 2019.

It also contributed around £40m to the English Football League (EFL) and its member clubs, £10m to darts and snooker and £350m to horseracing. 

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