Getting back to business
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed that casinos and bingo halls across the country will be able to reopen on August 24. The Scottish government is currently implementing the third phase of a four-stage plan to gradually pull back restrictions amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
the third phase of a four-stage plan
The government tweeted out a video of Sturgeon discussing the latest measures in the country’s pandemic “route map”:
The 11 casinos in Scotland have been taking extensive precautions to make sure that each of their properties is COVID-secure. These include implementing measures such as strict social distancing, track and trace systems, sanitizing stations, and installing perspex screens.
New regulations, to be announced next week, will allow local authorities to take action if they find certain premises or individuals to be in breach of health and safety guidelines. The police force is also set to get more extensive powers to deal with large gatherings of people in indoor settings.
BGC welcomes the news
The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) trade association welcomed the news that Scottish casinos can reopen on time. It remarked that since their March shutdown, they have been working hard to make sure that the facilities are safe for patrons and staff alike once activity resumes.
BGC chief executive Michael Dugher called on the Scottish government “to continue engaging with the sector to understand the anti-Covid measures they have in place – which are superior to much of the rest of the hospitality, leisure and entertainment industries.”
Dugher went on to ask the Welsh government to give its casinos the green light to reopen. Wales First Minister Mark Drakeford has since confirmed that the country’s four casinos can resume activity on August 29.
Boosting the local economy
Sturgeon acknowledged a need to reduce the economic harm caused by the coronavirus through the reopening of establishments such as casinos. Together, Scotland’s 11 casinos employ about 800 workers.
£300m ($396m) in annual government tax
Betting stores in the country have been open since June 29. Those properties housing gaming machines will be permitted to turn them back on starting August 24. Other facilities that will also reopen at the same time as casinos include amusement arcades, bingo halls, and indoor bowling. Casinos in neighboring England got back to business on August 15.
The UK casino sector, which employs about 14,000 people, contributes around £300m ($396m) in annual government tax.