Scottish government lifts shop restrictions on bookmakers

There was relief for Scotland’s 900 betting shops after the Scottish government confirmed that it will revoke its in-store restrictions, which have caused havoc on reopening arrangements.

Scottish bookmakers were allowed to re-open their businesses on 29 June, beginning their recovery from lockdown. However, last-minute orders by the SNP forced shops to remove in-store seating, as well as turn-off machines and all live sports broadcasts.

The SNP stated that its orders had been issued to “to avoid clusters of people gathering to watch live sport”.

The actions saw the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) launch an immediate campaign demanding that the Holyrood overturn its ‘draconian orders’ – arguing that the SNP had directly put at risk the jobs of Scottish betting’s 4,500 workforce.

Monitoring Scottish incumbents, the BGC wrote in a letter to Parliament that turnover in certain shops had slumped by 95 per cent as customers either stayed away or crossed the border to England to put on a bet.

Further initiatives saw the BGC publish a personal statement by Scotsbet Selkirk shop manager Andy Bennett, in which he detailed the dire consequences of the SNP orders on his business and its potential recovery.

Responding to developments, BGC chief executive Michael Dugher said: “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.

“Betting shops in Scotland can now look forward to playing their part in helping to kickstart the economy, supporting Scottish racing and providing a safe environment for customers who enjoy a flutter.”

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