Bookmakers in Scotland were re-opened on June 29th, however strict government restrictions had a huge effect on how they operated, which directly damaged their profits. Now, the Scottish Government has told bookies that they can start reducing the COVID-19 measures put in place from July 22nd.
In order for Scotland’s 900 betting shops to re-open, they had to follow restrictions that meant they were running in a greatly reduced capacity. These included the removal of all seats, the switching off of all FOBT gaming machines and a ban on showing live horse racing on the TVs.
Michael Dugher, chairman of The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) called the restrictions put in place “Draconian” and warned that it would have a “devastating impact on their businesses”. The BGC has since stated that there has been a 95% reduction in turnover from Scottish bookies, likely due to the lack of FOBTs and live horse racing.
Bookies in England have been allowed to open since the middle of June, however the COVID-19 guidelines that must be followed are less restrictive than the ones in Scotland. Gamblers only had to put up with social distancing measures, screens between the FOBT machines and special rules concerning the removal of face coverings when making identification checks.
Voicing his approval of the news, Dugher said “This is great news for Scotland’s 900 betting shops and the 4,500 hard-working staff that they employ,”
He continues “We are delighted that the Scottish Government has listened and responded.” Dughers words are likely a dig at our own government who has been ignoring the BGC’s calls to re-open casinos in the UK. Despite proving multiple times that casinos are ready and safe to open, the government has instead chosen to open other hospitality businesses.