Casinos and Bingo halls in the UK are allowed to open again as of today, May 17, as the government moved to the next step of its lockdown exit.
UK Casinos and Bingo Halls Finally Allowed to Open
UK Land-based gambling facilities have suffered a third national lockdown in January, along with venues in Scotland and Wales following after that. Now the government has pushed the opening of facilities to a new phase of the reopening plan.
Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) chief executive, Michael Dugher, said that reopening most of the UK’s casinos is good news and shows how hard the staff has worked to make the venues secure. Casinos and bingo halls provide excellent entertainment to their customers and are vital for the country’s economy. It would take months for the government to repair the devastating damage to the economy from the pandemic.
Last October, a report by the UK Gambling Commission showed a surge in online gambling when the government tightened the measures due to the pandemic.
Facilities Open with Some Restrictive Measures
Step 3 of the reopening comes after betting shops were allowed to open as they are a part of the non-essential retail in April. Shops in Scotland and Wales followed after.
In Step 2 non-essential retail, including clothes shops, florists, and hairdressers, opened in April. Dugher said that he was happy with the lifting of some restrictions from betting shops too. He said that the re-opening in April was a success.
As of today, some restrictions will also be lifted for betting shops, including the ban on showing live sport on TV screens inside the shops.
Now, indoor hospitality facilities can reopen for groups of up to 6 people or bigger groups that consist of no more than 2 households. These facilities are bars, pubs, clubs, cafes, and restaurants. Cinemas, theaters, and sports stadiums will also be allowed to reopen, along with casinos and bingo halls. Facilities that provide alcohol will have to provide table service.
Venues that don’t provide alcohol can permit customers to order from the counter, but customers will have to consume any food and beverages seated. Hospitality facilities cannot offer smoking equipment.
Some regulatory measures will remain for customers and staff at casinos, including wearing a mask inside the facility and social distancing. Capacity limits will also stay for an uncertain period of time.
Casinos in Scotland will not serve alcohol and will have to close at 10:30 pm. every day. Glasgow casinos will not open as the city remains under Level 3 restrictions.