Tuesday, 24 November 2020

BGC Praises Re-Opening Of Betting Shops After England Lockdown

Betting Shops

The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has praised the UK Government’s decision of re-opening betting shops in England after lockdown but has promised to continue fighting to allow casinos to re-open too.

England is currently under a lockdown which is set to end next week on December 2. This week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled the Government’splans for after lockdown and revealed that the country would once again follow the three-tier level restrictions based on the number of COVID-19 cases in various regions.

Under the lower two tiers, restaurants and bars will be allowed to open but must shut at 11 PM, spectators will be allowed at sports events and live performances, and betting shops will be allowed to open too. Under tier three, however, betting shops will be required to close and is the only non-essential business to close under the restrictions.

The betting shops that do open under the lower tiers will be required to implement additional COVID-19 measures. This includes a ban on live sports betting, limits on the number of customers within the shop, as well as implementations of perspex screens, stricter social distancing measures, and hand sanitisation points too.

The decision to re-open betting shops under the lower-tier restrictions in England has been praised by the Betting and Gaming Council‘s Chief Executive Michael Dugher who described the announcement as “great news” to the gambling industry in a statement to Gambling Insider.

“This is great news for our customers in communities across large parts of England and for the thousands of people employed in high street betting shops. On top of the stringent anti-COVID measures betting shops already adhere to, our members have agreed to further restrictions to limit any chance of COVID being transmitted in their premises.”

Then, referring to the decision that casinos must remain closed in regions under tier three restrictions, Dugher said: “Casinos are best-in-class amongst the hospitality sector when it comes to anti-COVID measures. There is no evidence that they contribute to the spread of the virus. So it remains extremely disappointing that they are still being ordered to close in tier three areas.”

He added: “We do welcome the decision to extend the hospitality curfew by an hour to 11 PM, but we will continue to make the case that casinos are uniquely exposed to any curfew, and we will press for their full and safe re-opening in all parts of the country.”

The news comes after casinos and betting shops across England offered to voluntarily implement additional COVID-19 restrictions as part of a move to ensure their re-opening after lockdown ends. The industry’s offer was announced just as the Betting and Gaming Council announced that six casinos have permanently shut with one other operator having cut its workforce by more than 40% as a result of the pandemic.

The news also comes after several Scottish casinos launched a campaign for venue re-openings under the country’s current COVID-19 restrictions, forcing all venues across the country to temporarily shut while risking business shutdowns and job cuts too.

Responsible Gambling In The UK

With one more week left of England’s lockdown and parts of Scotland under tight restrictions, responsible gambling has never been more important. Over the last several months, the BGC, the UK Gambling Commission, and gambling charities have all partnered to work on raising standards within the gambling industry and promote responsible gambling.

Gambling websites have joined in too and PlayOJO, owned by the popular SkillOnNet operator, is the latest to launch a brand new campaign focusing on promoting responsible gambling. The UK casino has launched a spoof fragrance with The Only Way Is Essex reality star Gemma Collins and partnered with charity Breakeven to raise awareness of gambling harm and promote safer gambling.

According to PlayOJO, the spoof fragrance, which has been named Compulsion, is used to highlight that gambling is an addiction “with no smell” and to highlight some of the behaviours gambling addicts display such as fluctuating mood swings and lying. What’s more, PlayOJO and Breakeven have created a new SMELL acronym to detail some of the hard-to-sport early signs of gambling-related harm and to help the loved ones of gamblers identity signs of gambling-related harm.

As explained by PlayOJO, here’s how the SMELL acronym spells out some signs of problem gambling:

  • S for Sleep: Is your loved one struggling to sleep at night?
  • M for Money: Is your loved one inexplicably losing money or struggling financially?
  • E for Extreme: Is your loved one exhibiting mood swings?
  • L for Losing: Is your loved one losing interest in the pursuits they have historically enjoyed?
  • L for Lying: Have you caught your loved one for not telling the truth recently?

In addition to publishing its SMELL acronym, PlayOJO Has launched a dedicated, responsible gambling hub as part of the campaign where concerned players can easily obtain help and support if they are concerned about their gambling behaviour.

Speaking about the brand new campaign, Peter Bennett, the Head of Marketing at PlayOJO, said: “Our business is built upon the principle of fairness and transparency. We are committed to doing what we can to provide people with the information they need to help identify potential problem behaviours, and offer access to those in need of help to ensure PlayOJO is a safe place for people to have fun and gamble responsibly.”

The launch of PlayOJO’s new campaign comes just as Safer Gambling Weeks comes to an end, an annual campaign that launches towards the end of November and focuses on promoting responsible gambling at online casinos as well as brick-and-mortar casinos and betting shops too.