Scottish bookies can ease Covid-19 restrictions

13 July 2020

Betting shops in Scotland will be able to ditch post-lockdown restrictions imposed by the Scottish Government from later this month which have already been attacked as "unnecessary" by industry associations.

While betting premises in Scotland were able to reopen from 29 June following the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) lockdown, they were ordered to remove all of their chairs, switch off their gaming machines and not show any live racing on TV.

The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) trade group said the rules meant turnover in some shops slumped by 95% as customers either stayed away or crossed the border to England – where such restrictions were not in place - to bet.

A campaign led by the BGC warned that unless the restrictions were lifted, shops could be forced to close and staff made redundant.

The Holyrood Government has now confirmed that the restrictions will be lifted from 22 July, although the shops will still follow strict Covid-19 measures such as the use of hand sanitisers and screens and adherence to social distancing rules.

“This is great news for Scotland’s 900 betting shops and the 4,500 hard-working staff that they employ," BGC chief executive Michael Dugher said.

“We have always said that the extra restrictions imposed on Scottish betting shops were unnecessary. We are delighted that the Scottish Government has listened and responded.

“Betting shops in Scotland can now look forward to playing their part in helping to kickstart the economy, supporting Scottish racing and providing a safe environment for customers who enjoy a flutter.”