Betting and Gaming Council denounces the “unnecessary” closure of betting houses | Horse racing news


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Boris Johnson is expected to announce new measures on Monday

Par jonathan harding

The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has called on UK races to challenge the ‘totally unnecessary’ closure of 350 betting shops and casinos across Merseyside due to regional Covid-19 restrictions.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to reveal England’s new three-tier system of localized measures on Monday, with areas in the north to be placed under the highest level of lockdown. He will make an announcement in the House of Commons at 3:30 p.m.

A number of restrictions in Liverpool, including the closure of betting shops, were confirmed by city officials on Monday morning.

Regarding the consequences of the decision for the race, Michael Dugher, Managing Director of BGC, said: “This is not just bad news for thousands of employees and the Treasury, but for the race, which depends on our funding at a time when its finances are in jeopardy. State.

“The races have naturally spent weeks emphasizing the need for more funding, but the closure of betting shops represents a clear and present danger. We need races to get down to business. “

In a letter to local MPs, BGC chief executive Michael Dugher wrote: “In Merseyside 2,300 people are employed in betting shops and casinos. The decision to close these businesses will likely have a huge impact on the employment and survival of these businesses.

“Our member’s sites follow strict Covid-19 guidelines and have been approved by Public Health England. There is no evidence that betting shops or casinos have been the source of a coronavirus outbreak or have contributed to an increase in the number of cases. .

“The betting shops were safely reopened last June and were classified as ‘non-essential retail’. They are not hospitality businesses, but they are unfairly distinguished from other parts of non-essential retail.

“This will not only impact these businesses, but will also have a negative impact on the amount of taxes they pay and the money that goes to support the races. For example, racetracks in Merseyside receive a large chunk of their media rights funding to broadcast races in betting shops – this will cease when the shops are closed.

Christopher Furlong / Getty Images

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The Grand National in Aintree was canceled in April due to the coronavirus pandemic
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“It is imperative that all 350 betting shops and six Merseyside casinos remain open. I understand why the city region prioritizes the economic support package, but it can and must advocate for these businesses to remain open. They are not looking for a document.

“They just want to stay safe and open and contribute to the local economy and the treasury. We urge you to make the strongest representation to the government against this arbitrary decision. “

Political leaders within the Liverpool City area authority confirmed several new Covid-19 restrictions in a joint statement on Monday.

“In response to the increase in coronavirus cases in the city area, we worked collectively over the weekend to negotiate a package of government support,” the statement said.

“Together we agree and share the serious concerns about the increasing pressure on our hospitals and we absolutely remain has pledged to work with the government to reduce the spread of the coronavirus and the number of Covid-19 cases.

“We have made it clear that while our priority is the health and well-being of our residents, the well-being of our economy is also a top priority. We have made it clear that we do not believe that the recently announced vacation program is adequate and that businesses in the area, especially those in the hotel industry and those who serve it, will be damaged and many of them will suffer long term damage. or will close permanently.

“The government was clear it would not improve the program. We have also challenged the government on other issues, including enforcing and funding the city and local authorities to deal with the funding crisis and manage our budgets this year and next.

“The government has decided that the following other measures and closures will apply to the region. Pubs and bars; betting shops, casinos and adult gaming centers and sports halls will close. He believes these measures will help stop the spread of Covid-19, reduce infection levels and relieve pressure on our hospitals and the NHS. “

It is understood that professional sport will continue even under the highest level of restrictions, meaning racing is expected to continue in England, although individuals may be subject to travel restrictions.

However, any prolonged or widespread closure of betting shops would be alarming for the sport, which has suffered from a funding crunch since closed-door racing resumed in June.

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