Betting Shops Welcome Punters Across Scotland
Scottish betting shops were able to open for the first time in four months last week on 26 April as the country began to relax measures brought in to control the spread of the coronavirus.
Approximately 750 licensed betting shops were able to reopen their doors, together with a number of other non-essential retail premises, bringing an end to a period of closure that began on 26 December 2020. Figures from the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) show that the bookmakers employ 4,000 people, pay £80 million in tax, and £6 million in business rates.
However, not all restrictions have been lifted, and gaming machines in betting shops will remain unavailable. Furthermore, televisions in the shops must be kept at a low volume, and all customers must provide details for the government’s test and trace program. The reopening comes a fortnight after betting shops were allowed to open in England and Wales.
Following the safe re-opening of betting shops in England and Wales earlier this month, Scottish shops getting back to business is another step towards normality and a welcome boost for jobs on the high street in Scotland. It’s great news for their staff and customers, and of course, it is an important source of funding for horseracing. As we look forward to a great summer of sport, Scottish punters will once again be able to safely enjoy a flutter on the high street.
Although betting shops are now back in business, casinos in Scotland will not be able to open until June at the earliest following a government decision that they may only reopen when the country’s virus situation reaches “level two”. The BGC has called this decision “absurd” following a report from hygiene expert Dr. Lisa Acklerley that said there was “no logical or scientific reason” for the distinction.