Complete Closure of England’s Land-Based Gambling Venues
All land-based gambling establishments in England have been forced to close once again after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a third national lockdown this week. Casinos, betting shops, and bingo halls have closed with immediate effect, and there is no clarity on when they may open again.
The third lockdown is similar to the first imposed in March 2020, with people told to stay at home and to only leave for absolutely essential reasons. This means that all non-essential shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues have been closed, as have schools, colleges, and nurseries
It is also bad news for sports with gyms, indoor and outdoor sports facilities closed. The only exception is elite sports, which are permitted to continue; however, fans will no longer be able to attend sporting events.
The government will be reviewing the current measures in mid-February, and it is expected that they will remain in place until at least March. Similar rules have also been introduced in Scotland, where they will continue until at least the end of January, and Wales and Northern Ireland already have lockdown restrictions in place.
It has been a tough year for land-gambling venues since the first lockdown was announced last March. The initial lockdown ran from 23 March until the beginning of June. Betting shops were allowed to reopen on 15 June, bingo halls on 4 July, and finally casinos in mid-August. However, further disruptions came when the tiered system was introduced with venues in tier 3 and tier 4 forced to close.
The closure came despite the Betting and Gaming Council calling for venues to remain open in tier 3. The group highlighted the steps that the facilities had taken to ensure that they were safe for staff and players.
When the second national lockdown was announced in November, all gambling venues were closed from 5 November until 2 December. There was then a partial reopening for some venues, but many have remained closed ever since.