Betting shops and casinos in England to close on Thursday

Viktor Vangelov | Published 2 Nov 2020, 3:33 p.m.

It is pretty evident that November is not going to be an easy month for the retail gambling industry. As you have probably read or heard, England is headed towards a new lockdown with all non-essential retail venues set to close on November 5. Seen as casinos and betting shops are non-essential shops, they will also close. The full national lockdown will last for four weeks, but Minister for the Cabinet Office Michael Gove didn’t rule out extending the lockdown if the situation doesn’t improve.

While the situation will be bad for the retail gambling sector, sports events will not be cancelled, and we know that sports events have the highest impact on betting activities and revenue. For instance, when major sports returned this summer, sports betting increased significantly.

Casinos were initially supposed to reopen on August 1, but the reopening was actually postponed to mid-month. We are yet to see whether casinos and other venues will reopen in four weeks, i.e. whether lockdown will be lifted on December 2.

Betting and Gaming Council aren’t thrilled

The Government has committed to keeping the furlough scheme in place, so all workers in affected industries will be getting 80% of their salaries, but a lot of people in the industry are pretty unhappy with the decision. The Betting and Gaming Council are particularly worried, and their chief exec Michael Dugher said that that decision was not based on science and scientific insight.

The Department for Health obviously doesn’t agree with the Betting and Gaming Council, as they have stated that people in betting shops who remain in enclosed areas for a longer periods are more likely to be infected. Furthermore, betting shops aren’t considered essential venues, so it is not surprising that they will be closed for four weeks.

Unlike the first lockdown when sports events were cancelled and postponed, this time they will keep operating, but events will take place behind closed doors. The Horseracing Authority have stated that they work very hard to guarantee the security of all participants and their respective communities.

Therefore, horseracing will continue throughout the lockdown period. It was also stated that there is a sense of relief for everyone whose livelihoods depend on horseracing.

GVC expect to lose £43 million

It is not difficult to predict that companies, especially those with significant retail operations will be hit by the new lockdown measures and GVC already came up with an estimate as to how much they could lose as a business. The company analysis indicates that the lockdown measures in place across Europe would cost them £43 million.

GVC are one of the largest holdings in the gambling world and they own brands like Coral, Foxy Bingo and Ladbrokes. The losses in the UK alone are estimated at £27 million. Regardless of this, a representative of the company stated that customers’ and employees’ safety remain priority for the company, adding that they will adhere to all government standards and regulations.