As per a new government order, a total of 487 betting shops, over half of the country’s total, will have to shut down in 11 council areas until at least December 11.
Scottish Betting Shops to Shut Down on Friday
Scotland will move in deeper into the lockdown caused by the spread of covid-19 and order 487 betting shops to shut down on Friday, November 20 throughout the country. A total of 11 council areas will be impacted, as they currently have the highest incidence of covid-19 infections. In other words, over half of all betting shops in Scotland will have to shut down.
With this, all non-essential businesses will suspend operation as per Level 4 regulations that will remain in place until at least December 11. The only exemption therein is the continuation of professional sports which will be unaffected for the time being.
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said that the government was following through with public health experts’ advice. In order to slow down the spread of the disease in the hardest-hit areas, tougher measures must be taken, she said. Sturgeon did not rule out harder measures.
Betting Shops Need Not Close, Says BGC
Understandably, the news was not welcome with a cheer from the industry. The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) commented that it fully supported the Scottish government in its fight against covid-19.
However, BGC felt that there was no need to proceed with full-blown closures on betting shops, which are venues that are well-equipped to tackle covid-19 on their own premises.
“We hope that the shops will be able to re-open as soon as possible so they can go back to contributing to the economy,” a BGC spokesperson has said. While closures are usually quick to enact, one issue bookmakers have been upset with is the lack of consistent financial aid.
According to Scotbet chairman John Heaton, financial support has been lacking with the bulk of all government aid focused on England and not Scotland. Meanwhile, uncertainty over casinos continues.
Sturgeon allowed casinos to reopen back on August 24, with all brands advocating for a more pro-active approach towards the pandemic which allows operators to remain open because of state-of-the-art safety and sanitization measures.