Thursday, 15 July 2021

BGC Criticises Scottish Government’s Midnight Curfew On Casinos

Scotland Casino Curfew

The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has criticised the Scottish Government’s midnight curfew on brick-and-mortar casinos.

This week, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced that Scotland will move to Level 0 Covid restrictions on July 19th, but as part of the move, all hospitality venues, including brick-and-mortar casinos, are required to close at midnight.

In a new post, the Betting and Gaming Council has criticised the curfew, explaining that the curfew will be “devastating” for casinos as they do more than half of their trade after 10 PM. The BGC also highlighted that the restrictions provide uncertainty for the 700 people employed by Scottish casinos and limits the £30 million a year the casinos pay in tax.

Michael Dugher, the Chief Executive at the BGC, said in a statement: “Scottish casino operators have once again had the rug pulled from under their feed by this bizarre decision. The casino industry has been forced to withstand a series of inexplicable decisions by politicians within the past year and is now coming to terms with yet another setback. The brutal truth is that a curfew is disastrous for casinos and we were under the impression that a move to level 0 would see the curfew finally removed next week, but that’s no longer the case.”

He continued: “The goalposts have changed time and again, which is grossly unfair on the colleagues and operators who have worked so hard to make casinos Covid-safe. Given that casinos do most of their business after 10 PM, forcing them to close at midnight is economically self-harming and shows a complete misunderstanding of the casino industry.”

He ended the statement by saying: “I would urge Nicola Sturgeon to re-think this decision as soon as possible, and remove the uncertainty she has placed over the hundreds of hardworking staff employed by Scottish casinos.”

The news comes after the Betting and Gaming Council urged the UK Government to establish a gambling ombudsman to deal with customer concerns. In a post calling for the ombudsman, Michael Dugher explained that backing the launch of a new gambling ombudsman was proof of their determination to drive up standards within the gambling industry.

The BGC’s call comes amid the UK Government’s review of the Gambling Act 2005, which launched last year. The minimum age for playing lottery products has increased to 18 as part of the review, and a ban on gambling sponsorships has been touted as a “likely” outcome of the review.

GamCare Expecting A Rise In Calls Due To Lockdown And Euros Championship

Gambling charity GamCare has said it’s expecting a rise in calls from gamblers seeking help following the UEFA European Football Championship.

The charity revealed this week that, although the full impact of the championship is still unknown, it’s expecting an increase in calls for help in the coming months from gamblers already vulnerable from lockdown.

As reported by the Evening Standard, GamCare has said that its helpline advisers for the National Gambling Helpline have had to call emergency services for people who directly related their situation to the Euros championship. More than half of its advisers had taken calls from at least one recovered gambler who relapsed during the championship.

Reports state that staff heard from people who had allegedly used their children’s phones to avoid gambling blocks, created accounts in their partner’s name to gamble, and changed their appearance to enter betting shops. Advisers also heard from people affected by others’ gambling sparked by the Euros.

Anna Hemmings, the Chief Executive at GamCare, said in a statement: “We know that people who use our services find it difficult to enjoy live sport, especially football tournaments like the Euros, in their recovery. With so many sports events over the summer, coupled with the difficulties people have experienced in the pandemic, we’re concerned we may see a spike in helpline calls over the coming months.

“We urge anyone who is struggling with gambling to contact us, whether it’s their own or someone else’s gambling. We want you to know we are here for you, we understand and we can help you. If you think someone you know needs support, please get in touch.

“Our latest helpline and treatment data shows online gambling has increased over the pandemic and we will certainly be monitoring this trend to see if it continues as lockdown is lifted. This is [an] important detail as the government continues with the review of the 2005 Gambling Act, working to bring about effective change to protect those who need it most.”

Paddy Power Announces €129,000 Donation To Irish Football Clubs

Paddy Power has announced a major donation to Irish football clubs as part of its Save The Game campaign.

The leading betting operator pledged to donate €10,000 for every goal scored by England during the tournament as part of its Save The Game campaign, and Paddy Power revealed this week that it will be donating a total of €129,000 to grassroots Irish football clubs.

According to Paddy Power, Irish football teams the Ferry Rangers FC, the Sea Rovers FC, the Sallynoggin Pearse FC, Brideview United, the Celtic Park AFC, Lenamore Rovers and Ballymun United, the Kilbarry Rangers, St Carthage’s AFC, the Coole Football Club, and Carrick Town AFC among others will all receive a share of the donation.

The news comes after Paddy Power joined all other BGC members in donating all profits from the Britannia Stakes horse race at the Royal Ascot to UK charities, including Care Radio, Marie Curie, Prostate Cancer UK, and Armed Forces charities Royal Navy & Royal Marines, the Army Benevolent Fund (ABF), and the RAF Benevolent Fund.