After months of inactivity, casinos in England received the greenlight to re-open this past Saturday, August 15, as the government continued to ease the restrictions related to the severe outbreak of the coronavirus.
However, some sectors of Greater Manchester, Lancashire and West Yorkshire are exempt from re-opening as they still have local restrictions in place.
Initially, casinos were scheduled to resume operations on August 1st but experienced a serious setback due to a spike of virus cases, which led Prime Minister Boris Johnson to put a two-week pause on the planned easing of restrictions. This decision was met with dismay, especially from the Betting and Gaming Council’s (BGC) CEO Michael Dugher who called the delay a “fiasco that was threatening the entire industry.”
The Betting and Gaming Council is the single industry organization for gaming and betting which represents online casino and sports betting venues, betting shops as well as other businesses of this kind. As per BGC’s estimate, the two-week hindrance incurred damage to the industry to the extent of £14million.
As casinos welcome back their punters, the government has firmed up the tone against violations of the safety measurements. The penalty for those repeatedly flouting face covering rules has doubled to a maximum of £3,200, and on-the-spot fines have been introduced for facilitating illegal gatherings of more than 30 people.
Dugher is urging Wales and Scotlands’ officials to follow suit and fully engage with the sector, ensuring a safe re-opening too. He commented: “Casinos have invested heavily in new COVID safeguards. There can be no justification for further delaying their opening…”