Third Lockdown Forces English Gambling Venues to Shut
As the spread of coronavirus continues apace, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has forced a third national lockdown in England which means high street betting shops, casinos and bingo halls close their doors once again.
Making his announcement to the public on Monday evening (January 4), the PM said that further lockdown measures would closely mirror those imparted on the country during the first lockdown which began in March 2020. As of now, people are asked to stay at home and only leave for certain specific reasons.
Similarly to last time around, reasons to leave the house or ones own garden include exercising once a day, essential shopping or finding medical treatment.
Because of these measures, all non-essential retail outlets, indoor entertainment venues, restaurants, bars, schools, colleges universities and nurseries will also close. Remote learning has been implied, and even the BBC is to broadcast shows which will help younger children along and mirror the national curriculum.
The latest national lockdown, which comes hot on the heels of the tiered system which has led to some parts of the country facing tougher measures than others, also sees other venues close for now.
Gyms and other sports facilities both indoors and outdoors, will once again close; however, what is known as ‘elite’ sports are allowed to go on this time around.
Competitions such as Premier League football, rugby and horse racing will continue, but that in itself has brought criticism after it was felt last year that when infection rates were this high, all such activities had to end.
While it’s great for sports fans and the betting industry that elite events can continue, fans are not allowed to attend games. While spectators were allowed in tiers 1 and 2 at the back end of 2020, this is now halted until at least March, when the national lockdown is set to end.
No Confirmed End in Sight
No precise date has been set by the Prime Minister for the end of the latest lockdown, although he intimated that a review could occur in mid-February. Other sources have said the special measures will be in place until March, however, leading to widespread indignation.
While Johnson, as has been during the pandemic, was formally introducing measures specific to England, the rest of the UK has also been introducing lockdown strategies in recent days.
Scotland has forced a lockdown until the end of January, while Wales and Northern Ireland have put their own measures in place.
Betting Industry Affected Once Again
Since the first national lockdown was forced ten months ago by COVID-19, betting shops, bingo venues and casinos have faced huge financial challenges.
From March 23, such venues had zero revenue if land-based and were not allowed to open until June 15 (betting shops), July 4 (bingo halls) or even the middle of August (casinos).
While many of the country’s businesses were allowed from the summer to get back to some kind of normal, the gambling industry suffered due to the tiered system which then followed.
Those in tier 1 and 2 areas could continue to attract customers, while those in tiers 3 and 4 could not, leading to industry-wide disgruntlement.
Nobody could have foreseen how long COVID-19 would affect the country, and as of now, there is no possible date for a return to normal business.