Limited Access to the Bookies

One of the features of lockdown has been the temporary closure of bookmakers shops. The most recent lockdown saw them closed in England, Scotland and Wales from Boxing Day 2020. Couldn’t they have waited a day, there was some cracking sport on that day.

It wasn’t until last month that betting shops in England and Wales were able to reopen. They’d been closed throughout the Cheltenham Festival and the Grand National. Thank heavens for online bookmakers to save the gambling industry from total disaster.

Placing a bet online is good but it’s not quite the same as being in a betting shop. Shops are now open again but customers need to be careful not to break the rules that will be in place. The figures for Covid-19 are on the rise again in many places in England and Wales, they are likely to continue to do so as restrictions are relaxed.

In England, the number of customers allowed in a betting shop at one time will be restricted. Just how many can be there depends on the size of the shop with a cap of eight. You won’t be able to spend all day in the bookies either. Customers will be limited to a maximum two visits a day at 15 minutes a visit. Will bookmakers need to go out and buy stopwatches, or do customers need to clock in and clock out?

Masks may be worn, social distancing is a must and some shops may carry out track and trace and they will have to close at 8pm. So get those late greyhound bets on early. A maximum of two gaming machines (excluding betting machines) will be allowed to be played on. There’ll be no chairs nor coverage of live sports events. It’s going to be a real trip back in time for some of the more elderly customers.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “I’m sure it will be a huge relief for those business owners who have been closed for so long, and for everyone else it’s a chance to get back to doing some of the things we love and have missed.”

He might fancy popping in a bookies next week and placing a bet on the Tories to win the most seats at the next General Election. That’s 1/2 at Paddy Power after the recent local elections. Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer might not fancy the William Hill odds of 8/15 on him leaving his job before 2023.

While bookies in England, Scotland and Wales are open again, there’s still a little time before the same happens in Northern Ireland. Top bookies Paddy Power have been able to reopen many of their shops.

A recent statement from them said that they are welcoming back their customers but know that they need to be kept safe. “ “Our number one priority is keeping our customers and team members safe. So, all our shops will follow the latest government guidelines on social distancing and ensure other public health requirements are met in full, in the interests of colleagues and customers.”