The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has welcomed the easing of UK national lockdown restrictions today, with up to 100 casinos across the country permitted to reopen their doors to customers.
Additionally, limitations on retail betting shops such as a ban on showcasing live sporting events on TV will also be lifted, whilst Scottish bettors will be granted access to gaming machines for the first time since initial reopening on 26 April, with the exception of Glasgow and Moray, which remain under Level Three restrictions.
Despite the easing of some restrictions, punters returning to casinos must remain compliant with anti-COVID and hygiene measures such as the mandatory wearing of face masks, use of hand sanitiser upon entry and throughout a visit to a venue, as well as continued enforcement of social distancing measures.
“It’s great news that most of the UK’s casinos are finally able to re-open – and is a testament to the hard work that staff have put in making them COVID-secure,” said Michael Dugher, Chief Executive of the BGC.
“As well as providing excellent entertainment for their customers, casinos are a major contributor to the UK economy, something which will be vital in the months ahead as the Government tries to repair the damage done to the nation’s finances by COVID-19.
“I am also delighted that the restrictions imposed on betting shops are being lifted. Their safe reopening in April has been a huge success and this is further reward for the efforts they have made to ensure their premises are COVID-secure.”
In its official statement, the BGC highlighted the 11,600 people employed by the casino industry in the UK, which contributes more than £500 million in tax to the Treasury.
The standards body reiterated the findings of an Ernst and Young study, published in March, which outlined that UK betting shops support 46,000 jobs and contribute nearly £1 billion annually in tax, with a total of £7.7 billion in gross value added generated for the British economy.
Additionally, the report also addressed the significant monetary support provided to sports such as football and rugby league by the UK’s betting and gaming industry, in particular focusing on the £350 million channelled into horse racing via the betting levy and media rights payments.