2020 has witnessed a damning turn of events as the novel coronavirus pandemic put a hold on almost every sector of the economy. Notably, the global gambling industry was severely hit by the virus, especially land-based casino outlets.
In the same breath, the UK gambling industry, being one of the largest in the world, has suffered a considerable decline in revenue as a result of the lethal virus. Consequently, it has been a delightful feeling seeing some of the industries shut down reopening after the colossal hiccup.
Land-based Casinos August Reopening
The government of the United Kingdom had begun relaxing its stiff restrictions earlier made as part of efforts to forestall the spread of the virus. Effective August 1, 2020, casinos in England are authorized to commence business in land-based casino outlets. As revealed by the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) Chief Executive, Michael Dugher, the reopening will champion a recovery of the hospitality and tourism sector of England.
Casinos in England employ up to 12,000 people who perform different tasks for the industry to satisfy all players. However, over 2,000 employees working in the industry were made redundant from the closure of casinos. These people have been suffering the brunt of the lockdown protocols initiated by the government.
You would recall that the government of the United Kingdom on March 20, had closed down all land-based casinos, bingo halls, and betting outlets pending when the lockdown orders were eased. This meant four months of inactivity for the parties involved in providing smooth gambling experience to millions of UK players. However, betting shops and bingo halls had been allowed to reopen since June 15 and July 4, respectively. The omission of land-based casinos from reopening drew criticisms from the BGC and other industry experts, given the relevance of the industry to the economy.
It is worthy of note that online gambling operators are not as severely affected as land-based operators. It’s interesting that a survey of the global online gambling industry from the period the virus broke out, shows that the industry has gained new customers including PayPal casino users registered with Gamstop who want to gamble again. They have made more revenue, as most land-based casino players were made to focus on playing online. This means that online operators may have employed slightly more employees since the virus broke out, albeit working remotely.
The gambling industry has been a major source of entertainment for UK citizens, tourists, and residents from all walks of life. It is also a contributor to the economy of the country, with billions of Pounds generated annually, considering the reputation of the industry. In this regard, the agitations of the BGC have been granted consent by the UK authorities, who are doing everything within the confines of their power to keep the economy running.
Scotland Weaken Betting Restrictions
Sequel to the current measures to contain the looming pandemic, the government of Scotland has joined other authorities in relaxing the restrictions imposed on betting outlets. In this way, all betting outlets initially shut down are to reopen from June 29, with strict social distancing protocols observed always. The reopening is as a result of a perceived need to get the sector running safely without putting players in harm’s way.
However, the reopening has been subject to such rules as turning off gaming machines, not televising any live racing, and removal of all seats at betting outlets. The BGC, being a leading trade organization, has frowned upon these reopening measures, maintaining that the measures are unfair on betting outlets. The body has opined that the betting sector is losing 95% revenue compared to what obtained before the lockdown. Also, the body maintains the restrictions would have damning impacts on Scottish racing, given betting shops pay media rights for televising them.
There are currently 900 betting shops employing 4,500 employees in Scotland, and the new measures would leave a lot redundant, claims the body. Regardless of the strict operational measures, the fact remains that the reopening of these betting outlets is a step in the right direction.
The coronavirus pandemic has by far brought about novel ways of doing things and ways they are to be done, going forward. This behoves English and Scottish operators and players to adapt to the new measures, however stringent they may be. Also, it’s brought about a new dimension towards online casinos and the seamless experience they present to players. Therefore, if, as a player, you cannot afford to stick to these novel measures, you may find an alternative in online casinos.