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UK – Re-opening of Scottish betting shops is ‘another step towards normality’

By - 26 April 2021

The safe re-opening of Scottish betting shops is “another step towards normality” for staff, their customers and the UK economy, according to Betting and Gaming Council chief executive Michael Dugher.

Around 750 bookies will start trading again today for the first time in four months as Scotland begins to emerge from the latest Covid lockdown.

Between them, the shops employ 4,000 people, pay £80m in tax and £6m in business rates. As well as their own anti-Covid measures, such as Perspex screens and hand santisation facilities, the shops will also abide by a number of restrictions introduced by the Scottish Government.

These include the switching off of gaming machines, lower TV volumes and a requirement to provide contact details for test and protect. The Scottish re-opening comes two weeks after betting shops in England and Wales safely got back to business for the first time this year. According to a report by Ernst and Young commissioned by the BGC, betting shops across the UK support 46,000 jobs and pay nearly £1bn a year in tax to the Treasury.

They also help to plough £350m into horseracing through media rights and the betting levy.

Overall, the regulated betting and gaming industry contributes £7.7bn to the economy in gross value added.

Michael Dugher said: “Following the safe re-opening of betting shops in England and Wales earlier this month, Scottish shops getting back to business is another step towards normality and a welcome boost for jobs on the high street in Scotland. It’s great news for their staff and customers, and of course it is an important source of funding for horseracing. As we look forward to a great summer of sport, Scottish punters will once again be able to safely enjoy a flutter on the high street.”

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