Speaking on social media this week, operators discussed whether FECs were included in the 15 June opening phase, and importantly, if they were ready.
The first question can only be answered by the government, with many local media reports confusing the issue by listing betting shops and arcades on both the ‘shops that can’ and ‘shops that cannot’ open lists. That matter has been clarified by government and trade bodies this week. However, the second question; “Are FECs ready?”, is best answered by the industry.
In a discussion led by Ian Eason, managing director at Instance Automatics, operators discussed their thoughts, with many confirming they would wait until July regardless of the 15 June opening date. Eason added weight to this sentiment, stating that June is normally a tough month anyway and that “un-furloughing staff will probably cost you a lot more than you will take”. He asked that if FECs open in mid-June and the aftermath of a busy weekend hits the death rates, “will they just close us all down again, just before the 6 weeks saving grace arrives?”
While only time will tell how the outbreak will react after 15 June, Eason was certain that FEC operators must do everything in their power to get the re-opening right the first time around, even if it means turning on the lights a little later than AGCs.