All Casinos and Betting Shops in the UK Are Closed Amid COVID-19

April 4, 2020 John Isaac

It was ordered by the UK government all casinos, betting shops and bingo halls around the country to immediately close down as part of its new package of steps to counter the spread the coronavirus known as COVID-19, while Chancellor Rishi Sunak has unveiled measures to help secure jobs threatened by the closures.

Boris Johnson in front of the British flag

Boris Johnson © Number 10/Flickr

The steps were revealed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who later on was reported to be tested positive on COVID-19 as well, on March 20, with casinos, betting shops and bingo halls instructed to shut that day and not open again the next day.

They will stay closed until further notice, while the global coronavirus pandemic progresses, with the government evaluating the situation every 28 days.

Betting stores, bingo halls, and casinos were forced to immediately shut down as part of the new steps which also closed other hospitality venues.

The government said the closures are enforceable by statute in England and Wales due to the danger to public safety, and any company functioning in excess of the Health Protection Regulations 2020 will be found in breach of the rule.

Environmental Health and Trading Practices authorities, with police assistance, must track compliance with the latest legislation.

The Government Will Help Affected Companies

The Government has proposed a package of steps to help all of the affected firms and their workers financially. Chancellor Sunak presented specifics of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme which he said was intended to help secure the jobs of individuals impacted by the imposed closures.

When a company wants to keep staff during the closing period, new government funds will fund 80% of their wages up to a minimum of £ 2,500 a month, which is more than the UK’s median wage.

“The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will cover the cost of wages backdated to March 1st and will be open initially for at least three months – and I will extend the scheme for longer if necessary. I am placing no limit on the amount of funding available for the scheme. We will pay grants to support as many jobs as necessary” – stated Sunak.

The new measures matched a series of initiatives introduced days earlier to support businesses that faced criticism from the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) to exempt gambling businesses.

On March 18, Sunak declared government assistance for industries that could be adversely impacted by the pandemic, including exempting all grocery, leisure and hospitality companies from charging taxes for 12 months.

The Gambling Industry in the UK Employs Estimated 64k People

The Business Rates Local Authority Guidance, which teaches councils on who is liable for business rate relief, expressly excludes casinos and gambling clubs and classifies retail betting shops as financial facilities rather than recreational sports, which also ensures they are disqualified

On this topic, the BGC chief executive Michael Dugher said that casinos and betting shops together fund the bulk of the betting and gaming industries employment, estimated of 64,000 workers. He also added that without the opportunity to raise income from football and horseracing, which accounts for 75% of the UK approved market for sports betting, such work expenses are clearly unsustainable.

COVID-19 has tremendously affected the economy not only in the UK but also all around the world.

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