Retail Gambling Sector of England Braces for Impact of Yet Another Lockdown
England will begin another lockdown this week, with casinos and betting shops shut down for at least a month.
A national lockdown begins again in England this Thursday as coronavirus cases are surging once again. The government is trying to avoid a huge outbreak and overwhelming the hospitals by stopping people from congregating throughout the country. Strict new measures will be in place to try and slow the spread, including closing non-essential businesses like casinos and betting shops. The closure will be in place until December 2. These facilities have already went through a similar shut down and this will only add to the harm already seen within the industry.
Another Shutdown Pending
Along with the betting shops and casinos, bingo parlors will also be closed. Pubs, leisure facilities, restaurants and other non-essential retail outlets that fall into this category will be closed. The decision was announced on Saturday as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson stated that there is no alternative for the country if they want to avoid a medical as well as moral disaster.
With a failure to act, Johnson said that the deaths in the country would reach several thousand a day within just a few weeks. The National Health Service would also be overwhelmed, unable to care for people effectively.
The Prime Minster apologize for the painful lockdown but says that it is the only way that the country can have anything that might resemble a normal Christmas holiday. Critics of the decision feel it is too late and the virus would have been better contained if the lockdown had taken place weeks ago.
Big Hit to Operators
The lockdown has caused major gambling companies to see huge losses. Having already shut down and then spent money to provide COVID-19 precautions, gambling companies are struggling to stay afloat. Just yesterday, GVC Holdings said that the new lockdown is expected to end in a $34.7 million loss in profits for the company in England.
GVC is the owner and operator of Ladbrokes Coral, which is the largest land-based betting operator in both the UK and England. With restrictions set across Europe, the total losses for a month could reach $48 million for GVC. Several countries have restrictions in place that are affecting the company including the Czech Republic, Germany, Italy and France.
If other countries start to lock down, such as Scotland and Northern Ireland, among others, it could lead to an even greater loss. Scotland is not ruling out a lockdown, even though cases have not peaked as of yet. In Wales, a short lockdown is almost over, but that doesn’t mean another won’t occur in the future.
Like other companies, GVC is trying to be smart and stay afloat despite the large financial burden. The company said they are following government advice in each area where they offer gambling operations and have contingency plans in place to minimize the impact.
Follow the Science
The Betting & Gaming Council (BGC) is in approval of the decision but feel that the government needs to take science into account in its decision making. With the closures in England, betting shops and casinos are included in the mix, grouped into a hospitality sector. While they do offer a form of hospitality, the BGC has pointed out that gambling facilities have worked hard to put anti-COVID measures in place and their efforts have proved successful.
The gambling facilities have not been privy to outbreaks and should not have been subject to closure in general. The BGC feels that once the lockdown is over, the gambling industry should be allowed to get started straight away so they can continue to contribute to the local economy.