In the United Kingdom and bookmakers in Scotland have reportedly been told that they will be allowed to partially re-open from Monday morning after being forced to temporarily close some 14 weeks ago owing to the coronavirus pandemic.
According to a report from SBCNews, the revival is to follow the June 15 re-opening of betting shops in neighboring England and forms part of the plan from First Minister Nicola Sturgeon (pictured) to accelerate her nation’s emergence from lockdown after it recorded only 49 coronavirus-linked deaths for the seven days to Sunday.
SBC News reported that bookmakers in England were allowed to revive operations so long as they had instituted a range of protective and social distancing measures such as the installation of plexiglass ‘sneeze screens’. North of the border and Scottish betting shops are to purportedly be prevented from showing live races and will be furthermore asked to eliminate in-shop seating so as to stop punters from gathering.
The Monday report from SBCNews revealed that Finance Cabinet Secretary Kate Forbes had earlier written to Michael Dugher, the Chief Executive Officer for The Betting and Gaming Council, to detail that re-opening bookmakers in Scotland are to be limited to providing ‘transactional services’ and will moreover be required to switch off all fixed-odds betting terminals.
Reportedly read the letter from Forbes…
“With regards to your query of when your members will be permitted to re-open, it is anticipated that betting shops will be able to re-open in Phase Two for the purpose of placing bets only, with no chairs and no televisions showing live races. This aims to avoid clusters of people gathering to watch live sport. Gambling machines should also be switched off to avoid spread through surface transmission. Confirmation will be issued in due course as to when the rest of the adult gaming industry may re-open.”
Prominent high street bookmaker GVC Holdings, which is responsible for approximately 3,500 betting shops in the United Kingdom via its 2018 acquisition of Ladbrokes Coral Group, reportedly issued a later statement in which it admitted to being ‘disappointed’ at the re-opening advice proffered by the Scottish government. The London-listed behemoth purportedly declared that the guidelines are ‘inconsistent’ with those of its estate in England, which ‘is open for business and operating strict social distancing measures to protect our colleagues and our customers.’
Reportedly read the statement from GVC…
“We will continue to seek clarification from the Scottish government on this issue.”
Elsewhere and SBCNews reported that betting shops in Ireland are to remain shuttered until at least the end of the month after some 800 venues temporarily re-opened on June 15 following widespread confusion regarding the government’s definition of ‘non-essential retail.’