July 9, 2020

“Draconian restrictions” imposed by the Scottish Government may result in job losses and closures

“Draconian restrictions” imposed by the Scottish Government may result in job losses and closures

In Scotland, 900 bookies could see close shops and 4,500 jobs can be risky if the government refuses to lift what the Betting and Gambling Council (BGC) regarded “draconian restrictions” that prohibit businesses from returning after post-lockdown.

The Betting and Gambling Council (BGC), a gambling organization, has criticized the Scottish Government for imposing additional restrictions on the country’s betting shops. Back in March, betting shops were ordered to close their doors. This is a broader government’s effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19 throughout the country and the UK.

With that being said, betting shops in Scotland reopened on June 29, However, Scottish National Party ministers imposed last-minute requirements, including fewer seats available in each venue, reducing gaming machines, and prohibiting live racing on TV in their venues.

According to BGC, this restriction is very risky for the industry. Operators in Scotland reported a 95% drop in sales compared to before lockdown.

BGC CEO Michael Dugher asked for paramount actions by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. According to Dugher, restrictions proposed by the Scottish government were unnecessary and could adversely affect sports betting providers in the country.

“Sturgeon was right to say she wanted every business trading viably, but the government is single-handedly wrecking the viability of hundreds of betting shops in Scotland. We urge Sturgeon to intervene before it’s too late,” said Dugher.

Dugher also cited the system that exists in betting shops in the UK as a clear indication that the method in Scotland is too strict and is based on a lack of understanding of customer behavior.

“Making bookies open without any chairs or live racing shows a complete misunderstanding of how they operate,” he added.

Responding to the BGC, a Scottish government spokeswoman stated: “We don’t want any businesses to remain closed, or open with restrictions in place, for a day longer than is necessary but public health is paramount. Our guidance, which gives betting shops the option to reopen partially to place bets only, is aimed at avoiding clusters of people gathering to watch live sport, with gambling machines switched off to avoid spread through surface transmission.”

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