Bookmakers in Scotland have had some good news this week with the news that key restrictions on betting shops are set to be eased.
The news that the Scottish government is set to revoke the existing in-store restrictions, will be greeted warmly by betting operators and customers alike in the 900 betting shops in the country, as the rules had caused havoc following the reopening of the Scottish betting industry.
Scottish bookmakers had been obeying the lockdown since March, when the government announced sweeping restrictions across the leisure and hospitality industry as part of the national efforts to control the spread of coronavirus. After three months under lockdown, they were allowed to reopen from 29th June. But the ruling SNP brought in last minute rules that forced shops to remove in-store seating along with turning off betting machines and pulling the plug on live sports broadcasts, shortly before the shops reopened. According to the SNP, this was done to avoid a situation in which groups of people would gather to watch live sports events.
Those measures resulted in the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) launching an immediate campaign that demanded the Scottish government overturn what they described as ‘draconian orders’ arguing that the SNP had effectively put the jobs of the 4,500 workers in the Scottish betting industry at risk. After seeking the views of the Scottish industry, the BGC wrote in a letter to Parliament earlier this month that that turnover in some betting shops had dropped by as much as 95 per cent as customers stayed away or took the option of crossing the border into England to put on a bet.
Pushing its case, the BGC also published a personal statement by a betting shop manager who listed the dire consequences of the last minute orders on his business and on its potential recovery following the shutdown. So the news that the rules were to be lifted was greeted warmly on Monday by the Chief Executive of the BGC, Michael Dugher:
“This is great news for Scotland’s 900 betting shops and the 4,500 hardworking staff that they employ. 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.”