Patrojoc Heavily Critical of Spain Gambling Facility Closures
Patrojoc, a Catalan gambling association, is being heavily critical of a decision made by Spain’s government to shutter gambling facilities while shopping malls remain open.
Dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic has become an everyday occurrence in most countries. Positive cases must be monitored, and decisions made to ensure the health and safety of every individual in the nation. One industry that has been heavily affected by pandemic decision-making is the gambling industry. In several countries, casinos and other gambling facilities are restricted or closed completely due to the virus. In Spain, gambling venues remain closed and this is not something that Patrojoc feels is fair.
The Catalan gambling association recently came out in objection to the closure of slot and bingo halls as well as casinos due to the fact that shopping malls remain open. The association argues that shopping malls does not have the tracing capability that gambling facilities, nor do they have the ability to provide the same level of health protections.
Considering an Appeal
Patrojoc is considering an appeal of the closure decision with the group asking for a statement from the Catalan Competition Authority. The association says the decision shows contempt for the thousands of people who work in the gambling sector.
The association feels the decision is discriminatory due to the fact that gambling is the only activity offered in the daytime that is banned from offering services. This is done without any evidence that the venues are a health risk.
President of Patrojoc, Carlos Duelo, commented on the decision, saying it is unjustifiable and discriminatory. It is unacceptable when considering the health of citizens, especially considering that shopping centers are open and they do not have the ability to control capacity like the gambling venues can.
Duelo pointed out that casinos, slot and bingo halls have all implemented strict health protocols. They do not have a large concentration of guests and they keep everyone at a safe distance. Ventilation protocols are also in place to help the space stay free from virus contamination.
Temperatures are taken of every patron and employee as well as mask-wearing being implemented. Machines and table games are also disinfected on a regular basis to ensure players stay safe. There has yet to be a source of contagion found at any of the gambling facilities.
The association is calling for a reconsideration and want to see the casinos and halls allowed to reopen. The industry wants to continue to contribute to the E240m by paying direct taxes and they cannot do that if the government does not allow operations to take place.
Similar Request in the UK
In areas of the UK, similar requests are being made for casinos and other gambling facilities to be allowed to function. Take Scotland for example. The betting shops in the country just reopened due to moving into a lower tier of restrictions. However, casinos have yet to be allowed to reopen. According to the Betting and Gaming Council, the casinos offer the same level of protection as betting shops, so why haven’t they been allowed to open.
It seems that legislators are either not thinking straight or they have some reason as to why they are allowing certain shops to open and not others. The BGC is calling on the government of Scotland to allow casinos to open as well because they have protections in place and there is no evidence that gambling facilities are spreaders of the virus.
Across the rest of the UK and other countries, casinos are starting to close up again due to an increase in the virus. It seems people are starting to slack off on mask wearing and social distancing, which has led to an increase in case counts.