news

Betting Shops Suffer Under Weight Of Tier 3

November 02, 2020

- Grant Whittington

Source: geograph.org.uk
The UK’s high street betting shops are considered high-risk from a health and safety perspective, the UK government has now said. This because of local betting shops being small and enclosed spaces frequented by customers for extended periods of time. The Department for Health & Social Care issued this statement in response to several complaints received from the local retail betting industry regarding the ongoing shuttering of shops in regions considered to be high-risk.

At this present moment in time, at least 1,250 retail betting shops situated in England are temporarily closed for business. In Wales, 366 more have had to close their doors to the general public. Scotland’s betting shops remain open until further notice.

Gyms To Open – Not Betting Shops

That betting shops located within so-called “Tier 3” areas have been ordered closed despite this not having been an order handed down according to official central government recommendations, is something that has severely angered the betting industry.

What’s more, what has made the entire situation even more enraging according to Michael Dugher, who is the chief executive of the Betting and Gaming Council, is the fact that gyms have been permitted to reopen, but not betting outlets. Gyms aren’t considered non-essential retailers. This, tweeted Dugher, is clear proof that the country’s Tier 3 closures have nothing to do with the “science” of the matter.

The real issue with the country’s betting shops is obviously a combination of factors – including limited space for moving about, entrances and exits being typically a shared point of access and exit, and people spending significant amounts of time either researching bets or watching live sports on big-screen televisions.

Gov. Says Economy Must Be Helped

A spokesperson for government has in the meantime motivated the decision to shutter betting shops for a second time round this year as one driven by an approach focused on minimising the impact of the ongoing health crisis on the local economy by reducing the transmission of infections.

But given government’s take on protecting the local economy from further impact, the latest move isn’t devoid of the threat of a two-edged sword of division. Major UK bookie William Hill early last week announced itself in anticipation of losses to the tune of £2 million for every 100 retail betting shops closed. At least 140 of the bookmaking giant’s 1,414 shops have already shuttered their doors – with many more expected to follow now that several more regions have been classified Tier 3 areas.

William Hill is classified a major employer – employing 12,000 people across 10 countries. Of these, at least 7,000 are employed in the UK.

Employers Suffering Major Blows

The very same bookmaker as recently as August announced the permanent closure of 119 of its High Street betting shops, leaving several people out of work.

In addition to the losses suffered so far – not to mention even the losses the bookmaker expects to have to navigate in future – William Hill has also had to start repaying to government the £24.5 million received earlier this year in UK furlough funds. The group’s revenues have in the meantime plummeted by a third to £554 million.

The bookmaker has been working tirelessly at expanding further its presence in the U.S. New opportunities have been arising following a relaxation of the country’s gambling laws. William Hill earlier this year confirmed now enjoying nearly a third of all U.S. sports betting income and spend.

The majority of those regions now moved to Tier 3 levels of alert are located in the north of the country. Wales, in the meantime, has opted instead for a two-and-a-half-week national circuit breaker.

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