The United Kingdom has enacted Tier 4 lockdown in certain regions in the country, including London and south-east England, prompting shutdowns of non-essential businesses, including betting shops.
Betting Shops Close in London and England
Betting shops in London and the United Kingdom will have to shut down as the government announced a phased Tier 4 lockdown, prompted by the spread of a new, highly-infectious strain of covid-19.
The measures introduced by the government and Prime Minister Boris Johnson will once again reduce access to all non-essential businesses, shutting them down completely until further notice.
This decision affects betting shops which reopened earlier this month after they were forced to shut down on November 5 as a way to cope with the spread of the infection, and returned on December 2. Moving forward betting shops in Tier 4 areas will have to remain shuttered. Starting on December 26, betting shops in Scotland and Northern Ireland will also suspend operations.
Responding to the announcement, Betting and Gaming Council CEO Michael Dugher welcomed the measures and said that the council supported all mechanisms introduced by the government and the NHS that are designed to keep the population safe. He did, however, share his disappointment at the prospects the industry faced in the short-term:
“Unfortunately, betting shops in Wales have also closed as part of the country’s full lockdown, while those in mainland Scotland and Northern Ireland will close from Boxing Day. This is disappointing news for our staff and customers, but we hope to be able to reopen safely once again as soon as possible”
-BGC CEO Michael Dugher
Dugher has been one of the most vocal supporters of “phased measures” as opposed to shutting down businesses en masse, something the BGC has previously criticized.
Plenty of Sports to Cater to the British Public
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has not been able to confirm when businesses may start reopening in the south-east of England and London, as the new strain is showing troubling signs of transmission rate, the secretary explained.
The good news, though, is that consumers will still have the option to enjoy plenty of live sports and racing, Dugher noted. The NBA is returning on Christmas Eve on December 24 and the NCAAB and NFL are already going at full bore, with the NHL planning its return on January 13 and a boot camp starting as early as January 3.
Back in the United Kingdom, the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) will continue to host racing events behind closed doors in areas that have been affected by Tier 4 restrictions. However, the BHA did warn that should there be attendees, they would have to comply with all government-issued and racing protocols to ensure the safety of staff and consumers.
Meanwhile, racecourses will keep in touch with health authorities and liaise about any potential need to suspend races or reschedule events. Another prominent organization in the United Kingdom, the Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB), said that it would follow the situation as it develops.
GBGB managing director Mark Bird was cautious of the new strain which reportedly has a 70% higher transmission rate than the original prompting constant monitoring by sports bodies, including the GBGB.