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UK blockade ends Dec 2, betting shops and casinos reopen

The U.K. will take a targeted approach to reopening operations, and regions classified as Tier 3 will keep their operations - including casinos and sports betting shops - closed.

National Lockdown to end Dec. 2

The sports betting and gaming sector in United Kingdom will make another attempt to return to normalcy after the prime minister Boris Johnson announced in Monday November 23that England will leave the national blockade on December 2.

The blockade, which began on November 5 and resulted in the closure of betting shops and casinos, will now allow affected businesses to begin reopening in Tier 2 regions.

However, which regions will resume operations and at what operations will depend entirely on the number of coronavirus infections, reproduction rates and the capacity of local departments National Health System (NHS) to deal with infections.

The government will introduce and restrict measures of varying strength to best address the situation as it sees fit. The biggest winners, of course, are the betting shops, which have had to close en masse, and The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) since has long advocated against the move.

Casinos and betting shops that are still located in regions that the government deems necessary to close will be affected again. The shutdowns will take place during restrictions on Level 3, with an opening considered at Level 2.

Fans are returning to the stadiums

Another big revelation made by Prime Minister Johnson was that fans will be able to return to the stadiums and attend live events. This is big news for the country's shriveled sports base, which has been longing to return to the stadiums for months.

Since the shutdown was implemented in March, no live presence is allowed at sporting events, confirming gate receipts and costing sports clubs a pretty penny. The reinstatement of live attendance will take place with limited capacity.

Classrooms can accommodate up to 50% of their capacity, but no more than 4000 fans in Level 1 outdoor stadiums. Only 2,000 spectators will be allowed to attend Level 2, at least until the number of covid-19 cases begins to decline sharply.

Meanwhile, indoor venues will have to limit live attendance to just 50% or 1000 fans , whichever is lower. The government will continue to use the levels to determine which regions can be reopened and which should remain closed at least until March - said the Prime Minister, discussing the measures with colleagues from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Betting and Gaming Council Satisfied with Development

BGC was pleased with the news, having long advocated a more targeted approach to closures, specifically using scientific data, to prove when downtime is necessary.

For a long time, BGC has taken the position that in the case of betting shops and casinos, both have been able to fully guarantee customer safety and reduce the risk of disease transmission. But BGC and partners are stepping up their efforts, said BGC CEO Michael Dugher:

"In addition to the stringent measures against Covid that betting shops are already taking, our members have agreed to further restrictions to limit any chance of Covid-19 being broadcast on their premises."

Chief Executive Officer of BGC Michael Dugher

Dugher continued to stress that the government would be wrong if it intended to close casinos and betting shops in Tier 3 regions, calling instead for an assessment of the real risk of disease transmission in such places.

He reminded the government that among hotel companies, casinos are second to none in their ability to provide security for customers and staff. On the other hand, Dugher and BGC were pleased with the decision to extend the curfew to an hour 23:00, which would give companies a little more time to generate turnover.

Dugher is not the only director who has warned against premature closures and welcomed the decision to allow attendance. Nick Rust, chief executive of the British Horse Racing Authority, said the new guidelines had made it easier for the industry to start generating revenue.

He was joined by the head of the Racecourse Association, David Armstrong, who saw in the government's latest announcement a way to defeat the pandemic. Even limited attendance is welcome. In the meantime, the country has decided to take aim at sports betting partnerships , which the BGC believes are important to guarantee the survival of sports teams.

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