PM Boris Johnson announced nationwide that England would be entering a four-week lockdown as of this Thursday in hopes to mitigate the growing numbers of coronavirus infections. Would this be the final curtain for the already struggling land-based casino sector?
What will the second lockdown look like?
The announcement delivered by PM Boris Johnson On November 1st comes as no surprise following weeks of speculation as the UK experienced a rapid increase in cases of COVID-19.
In addition, ministers have taken into account concerns over risk that the NHS is on the path of becoming overwhelmed.
England's chief medical officer, Prof Chris Whitty, noted that the virus was spreading "extremely rapidly". He commented during the news conference:
If we did not act now, then the chances of the NHS being in extraordinary trouble in December will be very, very high.
The new restrictions include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Universities and schools remain open
- Pubs, bars, restaurants will close
- Remote work is encouraged
- Avoiding non-essential travel
- Non-essential shops, and all leisure and entertainment venues will be shut, encompassing “theatres, concert halls, cinemas, museums and galleries, casinos, adult gaming centres and arcades, bingo halls, bowling alleys, concert halls, zoos and other animal attractions, botanical gardens”
Effect on land-based casinos
What reaction can we see from English land-based casinos in response to the announcement of a second lockdown?
Evidently, many land-based casinos continue to recover from the first lockdown and it is expected that the second lockdown could be the final curtain for many.
One of the hardest hit casinos was London-based bookmaker, William Hill, who permanently closed 119 betting shops in the UK back in August after a fall in customer numbers and significant profit losses. This was later followed by a constant battle with the English regional tier system, forcing the bookmaker to temporarily close more than 100 branches in Tier Three regions such as Manchester, Liverpool and Lancashire.
Lancashire, one of the key cities for and-based betting, has faced closures of 49 Betfred branches, 5 from Paddy Power, and 38 from Ladbrokes-Coral.
Such closures ultimately have had a devastating effect on employees as many are made redundant in one of the most pivotal economic times in history.
The question rests, will the land-based casinos in the UK recover?
In response to Liverpool City being proclaimed Tier 3 back in the beginning of October, resulting in the closure of 400 betting shops, the Chief Executive of the Betting and Gaming council (BGC) Michael Dugher tells the Racing Post:
It is hugely disappointing that as they are starting to get back on their feet again, those venues in Merseyside and Lancashire have had the rug pulled from under them by the prime minister.
PM Boris Johnson stated that he aims for the lockdown to end by the 2nd December, after which England will resume its regional tired system. However, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Michael Gove, fears that England's month-long lockdown could be extended.
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