The Betting and Gaming Council of the United Kingdom has today spoken out about the second Covid-19 lockdown that has been announced and urged the government to take on a ‘science-led’ approach when the lockdown period ends. This is to ensure the industry can return to as normal as possible without further impact and devestation to businesses and employees.
Although there was no evidence that venues of members of the BGC had contributed to the spread of Coronavirus, they were still forced to close under Tier 3 measures before the national lockdown was announced.
Bookmakers and casinos were categorised as hospitality venues and the UK government was branded as making ‘arbitrary and unnecessary decisions’ pre-lockdown.
Therefore, the industry is facing further uncertainty after the latest announcement to shutter all gambling related venues, such as local casinos, bingo halls and bookmakers to help prevent the spread of Covid-19.
Michael Dugher, chief executive officer of the organisation stated that its members were contributing to the national effort to beat Coronvirus and that the support offered to help businesses was welcome.
However, Dugher also stated that the approach on the other end of this must be science led to avoid damage to revenues and employment.
In addition, comments were made that outlined the importance of a health betting industry and their contribution to not only the funding of sports but criticial to the funding of horce-racing.
Michael Dugher commented:
“Nothing matters more to our industry than the safety of our staff and customers, which is why we want to contribute to the national effort to defeat this virus.
We also welcome the support for businesses forced to close under the second lockdown.
But when we exit this, the Government must have a science-led approach and avoid the arbitrary and unnecessary decisions that led to random closures of casinos and betting shops, which damage employment and revenues to the Exchequer.
It’s also important that when the latest lockdown is over, betting shops are allowed to open safely along with other non-essential retail, as they were in June.
Casinos, which have the best anti-Covid measures operating anywhere in hospitality and entertainment, should also reopen at the same time.
At a time when there is widespread despair among sporting bodies, the Government also needs to recognise that a healthy betting industry is vital to the funding of sport, and that betting shops in particular are critical to the financing of horseracing.”