Betting Shops Reopen in England on April 12
After the government released its roadmap for release from lockdown, it has been announced that high street betting shops in England will reopen on April 12.
The reopening of betting shops is a major plus for the industry, but bingo halls, gaming centres, and land-based casinos are not scheduled to follow suit until May 17 at the earliest.
Reopening Dates to be Data-Driven
British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, announced his roadmap in parliament earlier in the week. It set out plans to ‘reopen’ society from March 8 with some public services, including schools.
The roadmap did not include any specific details on betting shops and other gambling outlets, such as casinos and bingo halls. However, it seems that these venues are covered in the document without having their own mention.
While betting shops can open in an earlier phase on April 12, other gaming venues are a little later in the plan, with May 17 being the first date possible.
The PM said in his announcement that at each stage of society reopening, decisions will depend on data. If the virus’s spread continues to slow down, then there would be five weeks between each step.
That means that should the data not support certain things in the first stage reopening, such as hairdressers and bookmakers, then those in the next stage would also be pushed back. Any dates given for reopening, therefore, are “earliest possible” dates.
Betting Shops and Casinos Closed Since January
Gambling premises in England specifically have been shut since January 5 at least, the date on which the third national lockdown was forced upon the nation. Before that, many such venues had already been forced to close with the regional tiered system then in place.
A gambling industry body, the Betting and Gaming Council, last week moved to implore the government to allow betting shops to reopen, alongside casinos, at the same time as other businesses in a similar sphere. These businesses were perceived to have been harshly treated, having had extended closers in the two earlier lockdowns.
Those from within the BGC and many other stakeholders in the industry have rightfully pointed out that betting shops should be allowed to open up alongside other non-essential retail outlets.
Betting shops, it has been pointed out, were allowed to open last summer and demonstrated top-class anti-COVID measures to protect customers and staff.
For his part, Boris Johnson has said that the reopening schedule will be handled carefully to treat it as a “one-way road”, meaning once businesses are allowed to open, they will from that point not be forced to shut again.
These rules only apply to England, so more is awaited from Scotland, with the first minister set to announce her own reopening dates as soon as they have been agreed upon.
Reopening Could Change Grand National Date
The biggest betting event in Great Britain, the Grand National at Aintree, is due to be run on Saturday, April 10 but could now potentially be put back.
Those in charge at the Merseyside venue have said there is a case for rescheduling the race, given that it is seen as a once-a-year betting event for the whole public. So with betting shops not due to open until two days after the event, it could yet be moved to accommodate the reopening plan.