Betting shops to open 12 April; operators in talks to reschedule Grand National

By Tim Poole

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has mapped out a return from lockdown that would see betting shops and other non-essential retail outlets resume service on 12 April.

Casinos are set to reopen at a later date, on 17 May, as part of Johnson's four-stage plan.

The announcement naturally comes as a boost to betting shop operators, although they will be fully aware of yet another potential lockdown, considering false dawns after previous reopenings.

But should the presence of vaccines and a warmer climate keep COVID-19 cases on the wane, betting shops may well have a positive spring and summer to look forward to.

However, in what could perhaps be a bid to capitalise on reopenings as quickly as possible should shops indeed suffer further closures, the Daily Mail reports that the British Horseracing Authority is in talks with operators over delaying the Grand National by several days.

Currently, horseracing's biggest and most wagered-on event is scheduled for 10 April, two days before shops will be allowed to reopen.

As such, a swap with the Scottish Grand National has been proposed, pushing the Ayr meeting forward by a week and moving the Grand National back to 17 April.

Simon Clare, PR director for Ladbrokes Coral, is quoted as saying by the Daily Mail: "If there was a way the Grand National could be put back a few days, it would deliver a massive boost for the sport."

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