Scotland Casinos, Bingo Halls Set to Reopen Doors on August 24

  • First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said indicative date could change if concerns rise about virus
  • Betting stores across the country will now also be able to reactivate their gaming machines
  • BGC welcomed news, saying Scotland's 11 casinos have extensive health and safety measures in place
flag of Scotland against bright blue sky background
Scotland’s 11 casinos will be allowed to reopen to the public from August 24, conditional on continued coronavirus suppression in the country. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Indicative dates announced

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced on July 30 that casinos and bingo halls in the country can reopen on August 24. Scotland is currently implementing phase three of its four-stage plan to ease restrictions that are in place to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

contingent on the continued suppression of the virus”

Sturgeon outlined “indicative dates” for when certain venues can reopen, saying they are “contingent on the continued suppression of the virus.” This means the government’s plans could change if new concerns arise about the current COVID-19 situation in Scotland. Amusement arcades, bingo halls, and casinos will otherwise be able to resume business on August 24 once proper health and safety measures are in place. About 800 people are employed by the country’s 11 casinos.

Open since June 29, Scotland’s betting stores will be allowed to reactivate their gaming machines from August 24 too. Last month’s reopening went ahead on condition that all gaming machines and televisions would be turned off, and all chairs removed.

betting stores will be allowed to reactivate their gaming machines

Gambling establishments across the UK were ordered to stop operations on March 20.

BGC welcomes government’s plans

The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has long been pushing for clarity from the Scottish government as to when gambling facilities could reopen. Upon hearing the casino reopening news, the trade association issued and tweeted out its statement:

According to the BGC, the 11 casinos in Scotland have “gone above and beyond what is required” to ensure that the properties are COVID-secure. BGC chief executive Michael Dugher said: “They have demonstrated their commitment to ensuring the safety of their staff and customers, and it’s great that this has been recognized by the Scottish Government.”

He also noted that the BGC is “very pleased” that the government listened to the trade association’s concerns about gaming machines being turned off in betting stores.

UK gradually getting back to normal

The focus of phase three is to try to contain sporadic outbreaks of COVID-19 in Scotland, with the assumption being that the virus has already been largely suppressed. Social distancing measures are still in place, and most people have to wear face masks when in certain public places.

Casinos in England are able to reopen from August 1. Health and safety measures in place at these properties include hand sanitization equipment, perspex screens, strict social distancing, and track and tracing systems.

The casino sector employs about 12,000 people in England, but some job cuts are expected. Casino company Genting recently announced it is cutting as many as 1,642 jobs at its hotels and clubs around the UK. It also said it would permanently close all of its live poker rooms.

There is still no indication as to when the casinos in Wales will be able to reopen.