Retail betting outlets and gambling arcades, which have been included by the British government on the list of so-called non-essential brick-and-mortar businesses, may be permitted to resume operations in June.
At the daily coronavirus briefing held by the Government at the beginning of the week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson revealed provisional plans under which the above-mentioned “non-essential businesses” will reopen on June 15th. During the briefing, the Prime Minister announced that a “staged reopening” of the country’s retail sector is set to be managed by the UK Government.
As revealed by Mr Johnson, high-street stores across the country will begin with the reopening of outdoor markets and car showrooms from June 1st. In case the Government is satisfied with the five key tests at the beginning of June, coronavirus shutdown restrictions are set to be eased so that other non-essential brick-and-mortar businesses across the country are given the green light to reopen from June 15th.
As mentioned above, retail betting shops and gambling arcades are included on the list of what the Government has categorised as non-essential brick-and-mortar businesses that will be allowed to reopen in case conditions associated with in-store hygiene and social distancing measures are met.
The Coronavirus Pandemic Has Hit the UK Gambling Sector Hard
While the UK Government will allow betting shops and gambling arcades to reopen, the shutdown restrictions imposed on the country’s leisure industry are set to remain in place. As the lawmakers revealed, leisure businesses are likely to face much stricter requirements before they are given permission to resume operations. The tougher set of measures extend to casinos, clubs, pubs and gyms.
So far the British gambling sector has suffered an extremely hard blow by the coronavirus pandemic. Considering the fact that all major sports leagues and events have been postponed or cancelled on a global scale as part of the measures aimed at preventing the virus from spreading further, some of the largest local gambling companies such as Flutter Entertainment, William Hill, GVC Holdings, etc., prepared for losses amounting to as much as £150 million.
The retail gambling sector of the UK was brought to a standstill in March, with the country’s Government issuing an order to all casinos and betting outlets to cease operation to help the authorities halt the spread of the Covid-19 infection. Despite the set of measures aimed at helping retail businesses that may be hit by the coronavirus crisis, which the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, revealed, the land-based gambling sector in the UK has been seriously affected by the lockdown.
Furthermore, as a result of the lengthy lockdown, more British customers have started gambling online, with some anti-gambling campaigners having shared fears that the increased online gambling participation rates would lead to an increase in the problem gambling rates among local residents, too.