AGCs and Bingo to Remain Closed Past Monday, June 15, Says DCMS

Even though most retail business is restarting on Monday, June 15, adult gaming centers and high street bingo parlors will remain closed until at least July.

Gaming Centers in England Will Have to Wait Before Reopening

The UK government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) has confirmed that it will not reopen adult gaming centers (AGCs), even though betting shops will restart operations on June 15.

Starting on Monday, all non-essential retail shops in England will return to business while observing social distancing measures and health and safety protocols, marking the next phase towards relaxation of anti-COVID-19 measures in the country.

DCMS’ decision is surprising to some as the agency has already confirmed that betting shops will be given the go-ahead and open on Monday as well. However, in communicating with the Gambling Business Group (GBG), an industry body representing AGCs, DCMS confirmed that arcade centers may stay closed until July at the very least.

High street bingo and AGCs will not open on Monday, confirmed GBC chief executive Peter Hannibal who described the situation as “uncomfortable.” On Friday, June 12, Hannibal said that DCMS had informed him that arcade centers will have to wait before restarting.

A Tale of Compliance and Non-Compliance

In outlining its reasons, DCMS explained that the government had concerns that AGCs and bingo parlors may not be able to comply with the necessary social distancing and health protocols to guarantee the safety of visitors and staff members.

With reopenings of businesses around the United Kingdom, the government expects anyone visiting a betting shop or any other retail establishment to complete their purchase as quickly as possible.

Hannibal did say that he expects AGCs and bingo venues to restart operation alongside casinos which should all return on July 4. Pubs and restaurants will also restart operation in the next phased stage of reopening in the UK.

“Commenting on these developments, he had this to add: We did think this problem was caused by the confusion over the interpretation of the word ‘arcade’, but this is clearly not the case here. The view is that arcade customers need dwell time to partake in the product, which is at odds with the guidelines.”

Many companies have already confirmed that they are restarting business in the country without holding back. GVC confirmed that its 2,445 Ladbrokes and Coral venues in England will restart and Flutter Entertainment said that Paddy Power will relaunch all shops in England and an estimated 150 venues in the Republic of Ireland, although the Irish government has not issued a formal approval.

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