The Betting and Gaming Council has called on the government to guarantee that UK betting shops and gambling venues will be able to reopen alongside non-essential retail after national lockdown measures are lifted on 2 December.
Addressing MPs, CEO Michael Dugher urged the government not to repeat the “arbitrary and unnecessary decisions” that delayed the re-opening of casinos and bookmakers in June, highlighting the extensive safety measures venues have put in place.
“Nothing matters more to our industry than the safety of our staff and customers, which is why we want to contribute to the national effort to defeat this virus,” said Dugher. “It’s also important that when the latest lockdown is over, betting shops are allowed to open safely along with other nonessential retail.”
“Casinos, which have the best anti-Covid measures operating anywhere in hospitality and entertainment, should also re-open at the same time the Government also needs to recognise that a healthy betting industry is vital to the funding of sport, and that betting shops, in particular, are critical to the financing of horseracing.”
Though Dugher additionally acknowledged the Chancellor’s extension to the furlough scheme, he added that – when safe to reopen – “gambling venues would prefer to be contributing to the economy rather than relying on Government subsidies.”