Betting shops in the UK are closing down for a period of two weeks, after the latest set of unprecedented guidelines to combat the outbreak of coronavirus /Covid-19/ spread put them in the group of non-essential businesses, alongside casinos, cafes, pubs, leisure centers, cinemas, and museums, that were asked to stop operations with immediate effect.
Social Gatherings To A Minimum
The latest tightening measures are coming as the government has firmed its stance regarding the social distancing effort, looking to reduce unnecessary social gatherings by 75% in order to halt the virus spread and prevent excessive pressure on the NHS, a pressure the service may not be able to sustain.
“The speed of our eventual recovery depends entirely on our collective ability to get on top of the virus now and that means we have to take the next steps on scientific advice. And following our plan we are strengthening the measures announced on Monday. We need now to push down further on that curve of transmission between us.”Prime Minister Boris Johnson
Operators Already Calculating Losses
The current measures are going to be reviewed on a monthly basis, and some major gaming companies with exposure in the UK, such as William Hill and Flutter Entertainment, have already issued updates regarding their 2020 revenue expectations, calculating one month only of retail shops shutdown. Both operators estimate an impact of up to £110 million, with every additional month of having their retail estates closed down costing them another £30 million. GVC, owner of Ladbrokes Coral and operator of the largest chain of betting shops in the UK, expects a revenue drop of up to £150 million, plus an additional £50 million per month of closed retail shops.
Despite taking the biggest hit from the closure of betting shops, GVC issued a statement on its website, showing support for the decision as employee and public safety is paramount to any business objective.
“In line with this afternoon’s Government announcement we will be temporarily shutting all Ladbrokes Coral shops in the UK from the close of business tonight. It is very welcome to now have clarity and reassurance from the Government on this serious matter, as the safety and well-being of our colleagues and customers is of paramount importance.”
Even Left Open, There Is Nothing To Bet On
Closing of betting shops and casinos in the UK is coming in a moment when the whole world of professional sport is paralyzed, with no games in all top 5 European football leagues, England, Spain, Italy, Germany and France, and no action in all major sports leagues, MLS, MLB, NBA and NHL, in the US. Even the UEFA EURO 2020 scheduled for June has been postponed for the next year.