Open Up Scotty: the New Normal in Scotland is not Even Normal for Great BritainPublished July 20, 2020 by Lee R
With the UK betting shops and other land-based shops in Scotland trusted, are Scotland’s betting shops unfairly singled out?
All is not well in a UK sector, where measures are reportedly veering towards the Draconian.
The alleged oppressor is the Scottish government, and the complaint comes from Britain’s Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), the gambling trade organisation which has taken umbrage with the Scottish government’s imposition of new strict restrictions on betting shops in the country, prompting BGC chief executive Michael Dugher’s use of the “D” word.
New Harsh Realities
Stark compliance conditions revealed in the June 29th post-Covid re-openings include the removal of all seating in Scottish parlours; the switching off of gaming machines and the removal of live racing on television screens.
With no timetable to remove them, the BGC asserts these restrictions are highly harmful to the sector, putting turnover estimates in Sscottish betting shops as some 95% lower than pre-lockdown rates.
Rights Revenues Vaporised
The BGC expressed further concern about Scottish racing, whose revenues rely heavily on media rights payments within betting shops--payments which are nullified by the in-store television bans imposed by the Scottish government.
Distrust for Scot Shops?
BGC’s Dugher also implied early concern that Scotland’s betting shops are getting singled out by the unreasonably harsh measures. In comparison to the more flexible conditions across the rest of the UK:
“Our members warned in advance the draconian restrictions being proposed by the Scottish government were unnecessary and would have a devastating impact on their businesses – sadly they have been proved right.”
Constructive Solution Suggested
Dugher calls for restricting numbers in shops at the entrance, which is what other high street retail shops in Scotland or betting shops in the UK are doing.
Dugher applied further pressure by indicating that the restrictions fly in the face of Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s statement of intention to get every Scottish business “trading viably as quickly as possible.”
Dugher warns of more closures of Scottish betting shops, with thousands of jobs at stake, and recommends trusting in the ability of betting shops to maintain safe standards, as demonstrated by betting shops “elsewhere in the UK.”
It appears as if Minister Sturgeon needs to clarify the business policy of the region, and make the gaming industry consistent within it. Only time will tell.