Sports betting shops in England and Wales are reopening today while Scottish betting shops will have to wait until April 26.
England and Wales Reopen Betting Shops
High street sportsbooks in England and Wales are opening up today as the government is looking to ease up COVID-19 lockdown measures and restore businesses back to normal. After a lot of to-and-fro between regulators and health authorities, sports betting shops are finally able to restart operation, with all due measures in place.
The prolonged lockdown has bit in the operational results of companies, but they took the opportunity to prepare their facilities and get them ready for the return of customers who will be making the trip back to their local shops, stakeholders hope.
There will still be myriad rules to comply with, including maximum facility capacity, which will be determined based on the size of each individual property. Shops will have to make quite a few concessions, including the lack of live sports pictures, no chairs, and only two gaming machines available at a time.
Each customer will be limited to a maximum of two visits a day and shops will close down at 8 pm. While this may seem like difficult conditions to operate in Ladbrokes and Coral retail director Andy Hicks feels confident that business will start picking up as his company anticipates the return of in-person betting.
“The last few months has been a tough period for retail and for our shop colleagues with shops shut,” Hicks said. However, there is finally a light at the end of the tunnel, he continued, and operational teams have been working diligently to ensure the safe reopening of properties across England and Wales today.
Grand National a Missed Opportunity
Hicks confirmed that customers have to be prepared to comply with all measures designed to protect them and members of the staff, including social distancing, face coverings, and frequent sanitization. He added that customers and staff had been both looking to this moment.
Betting shops have truly had a bad year, having spent most of this year on shutdown. Meanwhile, sports betting shops in Scotland will remain unavailable until at least April 26 subject to further reviews.
The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) boss Michael Dugher welcomed the return of betting shops after he previously objected strongly to their closures arguing that they are the backbone of local economies.
“I know they are all looking forward to safely getting back to business thanks to the best-in-class anti-Covid measures in place,” Dugher added.
Unfortunately, customers were not able to bet on the Grand National which took place this weekend, and which would have proven a strong boost to betting shops, Dugher commented. Still, hopefully, better times are coming ahead for betting businesses in the United Kingdom.