BGC urges government to allow betting shops and casinos in England to reopen in tier 3

Casinos and betting shops have offered to introduce tougher measures to be allowed to reopen once the lockdown ends.

Casinos and betting shops across England have offered to implement tougher coronavirus restrictions so that they will be allowed to reopen in Tier Three areas once the current nationwide lockdown ends.

It is expected that when the current lockdown in England ends on 2 December, the country will enter into a stricter three-tier system, similar to the system in place before the lockdown.

Proposed measures

Both casinos and betting shops have offered to implement enhanced safety measures in hopes of persuading the Government to allow them to open in Tier 3 areas once the current lockdown ends

Casinos in England have said they are willing to stop live gaming such as table roulette, blackjack and poker. On top of this, venues are willing to limit the number of people allowed inside venues to 25% of capacity.

Casinos are also willing to stop selling alcohol altogether if they are permitted to stay open past the 10 pm curfew, which is when they normally do up to 70% of their business.

Betting shops are also willing to limit the length of time customers can stay in their premises, cap the number allowed in their shops at any one time and close all of their vending and hot drink facilities.

BGC makes “direct plea”

Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) chief executive, Michael Dugher, made a direct plea to Cabinet ministers Michael Gove and Matt Hancock, in which Dugher said that England’s gambling venues “will go even further” to ensure they are COVID secure.

The BGC reiterated that both the casino and betting shop sectors employ 54,000 people and pay £1.5bn a year to the Exchequer between them.

In letters addressed to the two government ministers, Dugher explained the extra steps that betting shops and casinos would be willing to take in order to reopen in areas with Tier Three restrictions on 2 December.

In the letters, Dugher said: “Our members are fully supportive of the Government’s efforts to tackle Covid. That is why betting shops have, in my view, the most stringent anti-Covid measures in place of any other comparable part of the High Street, and why casinos similarly have best-in-class anti-Covid measures compared with any other part of hospitality.

“As you can imagine, they are deeply concerned about the huge negative impact that closure of their businesses is having on their staff, customers, suppliers and indeed sport, whilst having a negligible impact on the R rate.

“But, in order to give further reassurance to you and the public that opening these businesses in Tier 3 is possible, our members have offered to introduce further restrictions on for example customer numbers, facilities and products available.

“I would be extremely grateful if you could give serious consideration to these measures which are proactively offered up by our members to provide further reassurance that they are safe to re-open in Tier 3 areas.

“On a personal note, I fully understand the demands that are being made of you in this unprecedented crisis and you have all my support and sympathy. I do hope you and your officials can look kindly at these proposals on behalf of very many businesses and thousands of employees.”

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