All UK Betting Shops close in measures to tackle coronavirus

Bookies to face more hardship as brick and mortar supply chain closes

Bookmaker News

The squeeze is getting tighter following the latest guidelines by the UK government to combat the spread of the Coronavirus. All betting shops and casinos are now closed as the country sinks deeper into the social distancing norm.

Pubs and clubs and other social gathering hotspots like leisure centres and cinemas have also been closed. The country is in a battle to slow down the spread of Covid-19.

But this is the latest in a blow to the bookmaking industry.

Bookmaking Industry hit hard

Bookmakers were already facing massive drops in turnover. That is due to the sporting world going on furlough. Private gambling firms are fearing that the latest closure measures could take a couple of months to be lifted.

Shares in the likes of GVC Holdings, the parent company of Ladbrokes Coral, William Hill and Flutter Entertainment, the group which contains Paddy Power and Betfair, have all taken substantial falls in the last fortnight.

Government offer relief but not to industry

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has launched more relief to businesses. He announced that the Government is going to, through grants, pay up to 80% of the salary of workers that do stay in employment during this crisis.

But earlier this week, gambling operators found out that they are not eligible for any emergency business rates relief. So bookmakers are going to have to go this alone and find a way to power through.

Betting and Gaming Council chief executive Michael Dugher and Chairman Brigid Simmonds OBE joined forces to pen an open letter to the government, asking them to rethink their strategy when it comes to the gambling industry in what they call a ‘hugely damaging decision on business rates’.

Even before the announcement from the Govenmerntmanet came, Paddy Power had released a statement they would be closing all their 350 betting shops in Britain from Friday night until the end of April. They had already made a move to close in Ireland until March 29.