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Scottish casinos to open Monday

While Scotland will remain in Phase 3 of lockdown, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced that bingo halls, amusement arcades, casinos and pool halls can reopen from 24 August subject to strict guideline adherence and appropriate safety measures.

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The announcement follows the reopening of casinos in England on 15 August. Between them, the UK’s 125 casinos employ 14,000 people and contribute £300m a year to the Treasury in tax.

“The prevalence of the virus continues to be at low levels in Scotland, but we are also recording more positive cases than three weeks ago,” said Sturgeon. “I hope the re-opening of some services will be welcomed because we know it is essential to reduce the economic harm this virus is doing, but I hope people will also understand why, as we try to open services and keep them open, we must take firm action when rules and guidance are not being complied with.”

Under new legislation, local authorities can act in respect of specific premises that are breaching guidelines and risking transmission of the virus. In addition, the Scottish Government plans to give police new powers to break up and disperse large indoor gatherings. The regulations will be laid next week with the intention they come into force by 28 August.

The Betting and Gaming Council has praised the Scottish Government for allowing casinos to open their doors next week, following several pleas for clarity for the approximately 800 employees across 11 establishments. According to BGC chief executive Michael Dugher, the Government deserves credit for listening to businesses.

“This is welcome news and like their colleagues in England, Scottish casinos have gone above and beyond what was required of them to ensure they comply with all of the government’s COVID guidelines. Scottish casino workers can now look forward to providing an excellent service to their many customers and doing their bit in supporting the UK’s economic recovery,” said Dugher.


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