The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has urged the Scottish Government to lift “draconian restrictions” imposed on retail betting shops following their COVID-19 lockdown. The Council commented that the imposed measures are putting “a huge question mark” on the long-term future of the local bookmaking sector.
The BGC warned that the Scottish National Party (SNP) needs to urgently rethink about reopening conditions for their betting shops, which have placed 4,500 people at risk of losing their jobs. According to their estimates, the turnover in betting shops has fallen by 95%.
Scotland’s 900 betting shops closed temporarily mid-March and were allowed to reopen on Monday 29 June. At the last moment, SNP ministers imposed additional requirements demanding that betting shops remove chairs and switched off machines as well as prohibiting venues from broadcasting live racing. Compared to their English counterparts, Scottish bookmakers have to follow a much stricter set of rules and guidelines.
“The government is single-handedly wrecking the viability of hundreds of betting shops in Scotland,” said the BGC’s CEO, Michael Dugher. He also added how these restrictions clearly show a “complete misunderstanding of how betting shops operate.”