New funds in casinos and bookmakers' shops

The UK Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) says its members are ready to put in place more stringent measures to avoid a further need to close after the end of the current blockade in England, which runs until December 3.

All casinos and betting shops in England have been closed since November 5 as part of a second nationwide lockdown to control escalation of Covid-19 cases.

Facilities in some areas, including Manchester and Liverpool, have previously been forced to close due to a three-tier system of measures that requires the closure of many companies in the regions with the highest incidence.

BGC has sought reassurance from the government that all game points can be reopened from December 3, but this seems unlikely if the government continues a multi-tier system whereby areas located on tier three are likely to be expanded. Industry group members said they are proposing a series of stricter restrictions if allowed to open under the Level 3 restrictions.

As proposed, the casinos would not offer live games such as table roulette, blackjack and poker, and would limit the capacity to 25 percent. The casinos also reiterated their offer to stop selling alcohol altogether if they were allowed to remain open after 22:00.

In the meantime, sportsbooks would also put in place restrictions on the capacity and time that customers can stay on the site. They would also close off the sale of food.

BGC chief executive Michael Dugher presented the proposals in letters to Health Minister Matt Hancock and Government Minister Michael Gove.

The casino sector is already feeling the effects of the pandemic. There have been significant job cuts, with one operator cutting the existing workforce by more than 40 percent. I would be extremely pleased if the government could seriously consider these measures that are being proposed by our members to ensure that they can be safely reopened in tier three areas. Dugher.

This is the latest in a series of continuous proposals the industry has made to avoid closures during a pandemic. So far, her proposals have not been considered by the government.

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