The betting shops in England will reopen from the 12th of April, while bingo halls and casinos would follow suit on the 17th of May 2021. Prime Minister Boris Johnson made this announcement at the parliament on the 22nd of February 2021.
However, he also added that the reopening would also be dependent on data about the spread of the COVID-19 virus. In other words, if the spread of the virus increases, the possibility of reopening the venues will be a gleam.
While operators are still counting their losses, this move will restore hope to land-based casinos and betting shops in the country.
Closure and Reopening of Gambling Venues in England
Like most gambling venues in Europe, England shut down all betting shops and land-based casino halls for more than a month after the last lockdown. The gambling venues in England have been closed since the 5th of January 2021, after the third lockdown.
Unfortunately, most of the gambling venues have been closed for much longer because of the strict restrictions imposed by the government. Don’t forget, the first lockdown started about a year ago, precisely on the 20th of March 2020.
Although the gambling community has welcomed the reopening, some of the opinions are that both betting shops, bingo, and casino halls should reopen at the same time. In a statement last week, the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) urged the government to allow both betting shops, bingo, and casino halls to reopen at the same time.
According to the BGC, most gambling venues before the third lockdown had provided the best anti-COVID-19 measures to protect their customers.
The Effect of the Lockdown on Betting Shops and Casino Hall in England
The effect of the pandemic on gambling venues in England is overwhelming. Considering the various lockdowns and closures experienced in the past year, the negative impact on operators is almost immeasurable.
Apart from the gambling venues, the government has also lost revenues in taxes and levies. According to experts, gambling venues generate more than $1 billion as revenue for the government. Other daunting effects of the pandemic on gambling venues are:
Employment: Most gambling venues have had to let go of their staff because of the pandemic. And these, in turn, have increased the unemployment index.
Revenue: It’s very difficult to imagine how these gambling venues have managed to keep up till now. Most have not opened for the entire year since the pandemic started and will not likely have earned a dime since then.
Loss of Customers: The fear of most gambling venues is whether their customers will come back even after the reopening. Considering the upsurge in real money gambling online, it is almost impossible to get back all their loyal customers.
Online Gambling Industry in England
There is no gainsaying that the online gambling industry has benefited a lot from the closure of betting shops and land-based casinos. More so, they are the biggest beneficiaries of the peril that befell gambling venues.
According to the UK Gambling Commission, the industry has recorded a higher number of new registrations for the past year. Since bettors could not visit the regular gambling venues, most opted for online gambling.
Furthermore, the revenue generated by the UKGC from online best casinos and other gaming platforms doubled this year. Also, a lot of operators have switched to online gambling.
Overview of the Gambling Industry in the UK
The UK has one of the most viable online betting industries in Europe. Also, their monitoring and regulations of online gambling activities appear to be more sophisticated.
However, the UK market before now relied heavily on revenues generated by land-based casinos and betting shops. Besides, the introduction of smartphones gave the online gambling industry the speed it needed to grow.
On the other hand, their land-based gambling industries have suffered severe losses since the pandemic. Whether or not the land-based gambling venues will recover after the reopening on the 12th of April and 17th of May 2021 remains unknown.
The Future of Gambling Venues in the UK
Looking at the rate the online gambling industry is growing, it may be difficult for gambling venues in the UK to catch up. Also, the UK gambling market is not the only jurisdiction experiencing this paradigm shift.
Undoubtedly, online gambling is the future. It appears that some land-based gambling venues have switched to online gambling. Finally, no matter how fast the online gambling market is growing, some customers may still prefer gambling at land-based casinos and betting shops.