Betting shops and casinos across Britain will close indefinitely as of the evening of Friday 20th March as part of measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
The UK government introduced the close-down as part of wider plans to ‘flatten the curve’ of COVID-19 cases. Other establishments that will need to close include pubs, restaurants, cinemas, gyms and leisure centres.
Whilst this move falls short of a total lockdown in the UK, they are designed to specifically stop people from gathering in establishments which encourage socialising and so also increasing the spread of the virus.
There was some reassurance for those who are employed within the retail betting and gambling sector with chancellor Rishi Sunak announcing that the government would cover 80% of worker’s wages up to a maximum of £2,500 per month if these closures would mean loss of employment but they are kept on company payroll.
Both chain and independent bookmakers had already closed shops in Ireland after the government there had begun similar restrictions.
These closures in Ireland were planned until the end of March though it is possible that date will be extended with seeming no reduction in the spread of coronavirus in Europe.
Will Winnings Still Be Paid?
For customers who have winnings to collect, most will not be able to do so until betting shops are able to reopen. This won’t be until measures to restrict COVID-19 have been reduced which may well not be for another 6-8 weeks. In that time however, rest assured your money will safe until a time when shops can resume business.
For those who have multi-channel accounts that had placed their in-shop bets using these accounts, they should see winnings in their online balance as normal. There may be a delay in settlement and amending any errors.
The news of the immediate closure to gambling establishments will have caught many who both frequent shops and casinos and those who work there by surprise, if only because of the sudden nature of the shutdown. We’ve all heard the term ‘unprecedented times’ over the last week or two and public safety is of upmost importance. All involved will be hoping to open their doors again sooner rather than later.