The impact of the coronavirus on the betting industry continued on Tuesday with the news that Ireland’s second largest bookmaker is to close its betting shops.
Boylesports have announced that they will be shutting down their entire estate of retail betting premises in the Republic of Ireland. The announcement is in line with the social isolation policy brought in by the Irish government last week.
The closure, which will involve 278 retail betting shops throughout the country will take effect from Wednesday March 18 at 20:00 and as this state the firm are saying that the shops will remain closed until March 29 at the earliest.
Speaking about the measure, the Chief Executive of Boylesports, Conor Gray, said that they were acting in response to the measures implemented by the national government:
“BoyleSports has a responsibility to protect its staff and its customers. Like other Irish businesses we also have a responsibility to support the Government’s social-isolation policy. The closure of our shops supports this policy.”
Although the advice of Taoiseach Leo Varadkar did not specify that bookmakers should close their premises, Boylesports say that they made their decision after consulting with other Irish bookmakers, who they say are also intending to close their shops.
The Irish government has imposed a ban on large gatherings throughout Ireland in an attempt to limit the extent of the coronavirus infection. Horse Racing Ireland have also confirmed that all Irish race meetings will be taking place behind closed doors until March 29.
In their statement, the HRI said that racing would be closed to the general public, and social distancing measures would be in place at racecourses. Access to the courses would be restricted to those who were essential to the race meeting, and there would be no betting or catering services. But they confirmed that race footage would still be made available to broadcasters.