UK casinos and high-street betting shops received good news, as the Government finally have given them an opening date.
The country’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson issued a detailed plan for the upcoming relaxation of the lockdown measures, saying that betting shops and other non-essential retail outlets would be allowed to reopen on April 12nd. Casino venues across the UK would be able to resume operation on May 17th. As revealed by Mr Johnson, the Government’s plan includes four stages and businesses should make efforts to get the best from the upcoming reopenings.
The British Prime Minister unveiled a roadmap out of lockdown” and said that a phased reopening of businesses is set to start on March 8th. The documents he presented in Parliament did not specifically mention casinos, betting shops, adult gaming centres or bingo halls, but a spokesperson of Mr Johnson confirmed that betting shops are set to resume operation in the second stage that is starting on April 12th.
Other gambling venues across the UK will be allowed to reopen in stage three that is expected to begin on May 17th.
Boris Johnson also shared that all stages of the reopening plan would depend on the spread of the coronavirus infection. All gambling venues in England have been shut since at least January 5th, when the country’s third lockdown started. Many of the facilities have actually been closed for a much longer period because of some regional restrictions imposed under the tiered system.
BGC Calls for Delay of 2021 Grand National Until after Betting Shops Reopening
The trade body representing the gambling sector in the UK – the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) – called for the Government to give the green light to casinos and betting shops to resume operation at the same time as other similar businesses following the extended shutdown they have been subject to during earlier lockdowns.
Apart from that, the BGC has called for the Grand National to be postponed until after high-street betting shops are allowed to reopen, saying that such a delay would probably offer a timely boost for the gambling and racing sectors. Currently, the 2021 Grand National is set to take place on April 10th at Aintree Racecourse, which is two days prior to the reopening of UK betting shops following the period of enforced closure because of the restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Betting and Gaming Council, however, insists on having the Grand National delayed until after the reopening of local betting shops in order to allow them to capitalise on one of the most popular sports betting events in the country. According to the gambling industry’s trade body, an estimated £125 million is normally placed as wagers on the race by millions of bettors. As shared by Michael Dugher, CEO of the BGC, delaying the Grand National until after the opening of the country’s betting shops is an idea worth considering.