Thousands of High Street Betting Shops Reopen in the UK
The gambling industry is rejoicing in the United Kingdom as around 6,000 high street betting shops are back in business.
It’s been a long hard road for the gambling industry in the United Kingdom. While online operators could continue offering services during the COVID-19 pandemic, land-based venues were shut down. The country was subject to several different lockdowns, which resulted in thousands of high street betting shops closing up for months on end. This week though, operators were able to get back to work. In-person betting was back in business on April 12.
Closed Since December
Bookmakers have been unable to offer services in the UK since December. Officials shut down the operations due to a continued issue with COVID-19 positive cases. Operators had to sit by and wait until officials loosened restrictions and allowed them to reopen, which was the April 12 date. Now, thousands of high street betting shops can once again accept patrons.
At the same time, outdoor dining, pub gardens, retail shops, and hairdressers can also start offering services once again. Betting and Gaming Council chief executive Michael Dugher, commented that it is great news to see the high street betting shops back in operation in Wales and England.
Dugher added that it has been a long three months for the staff members of the betting ships and the customers. Everyone is looking forward to safely getting back to work. Unfortunately for casinos, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s order remains in place with the venues shut down through mid-May.
Restrictions Are In Place
With betting resuming in-person this week, gamblers will soon see that the process is a bit different than before the pandemic. Businesses are not allowed to provide any tables or seating. Televisions are to remain off to keep customers from hanging about. Bettors are only allowed to stay inside the shop for 15 minutes or less.
Social distancing must be in place with hand sanitizer provided. Plexiglass barriers need to be placed between the ticket window to separate the customer and the cashier. Customers are only allowed to visit the betting shop two times per day. The businesses need to close at 8pm each night.
Each betting shop can only allow eight people inside at one time. This number excludes the employees. Even though there are health safety measures in place, the Betting and Gaming Council sees the reopening as a step in the right direction.
The reopening process provides a boost to the millions of people who enjoy betting. These individuals will play a major role in the post-COVID recovery process in the United Kingdom. Betting shops provide around $1.37 billion in revenues and support around 46,000 jobs. With the venues up and running again, people are back to work and bets will help to get the economy rolling once again.
According to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the decision to allow the businesses that are nonessential to reopen was based on assessments connected to the pandemic. The vaccine deployment program is currently a success and evidence has proven that hospitalizations and deaths are reduced in the individuals who are vaccinated.
Since December and January spikes in positive cases, the number of new cases in the UK have started to decline. In January, the number of positive cases was around 474. Today, there are less than 30 per week.
It will be interesting to see how the UK progresses and how long the restrictions will be in place for the betting shops. Will the restrictions remain for months or will it be just a few weeks before television viewing is added, or perhaps more bettors are let inside the shops at one time?
We will stay on top of any new developments and report on them as they happen.