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The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has welcomed the UK Government’s decision to let betting shops re-open in Tier 3 areas with severe restrictions in place.

BGC chief executive Michael Dugher said: “This is great news for our customers in communities across large parts of England and for the thousands of people employed in high street betting shops. I know how hard in particular the DCMS battled for their sectors and ministers deserve our sincere thanks.

“On top of the stringent anti-Covid measures betting shops already adhere to, our members have agreed to further restrictions to limit any chance of Covid being transmitted in their premises.

“We now look forward to England coming out of lockdown next week, with betting shops back contributing to the Exchequer and playing their part in helping power the country’s economic recovery.”

He added: “It’s also great that limited numbers of spectators will be allowed back to watch live sport in Tiers 1 and 2. The ban on crowds has been devastating for sports like horse racing and football, so this sensible step comes at just the right time.”

However, Mr. Dugher expressed disappointment that casinos will have to remain closed in Tier 3 areas.

He said: “Casinos are best-in-class amongst the hospitality sector when it comes to anti-Covid measures. There is no evidence that they contribute to the spread of the virus.

“So it remains extremely disappointing that they are still being ordered to close in Tier 3 areas.

“We do welcome the decision to extend the hospitality curfew by an hour to 11 pm, but we will continue to make the case that casinos are uniquely exposed to any curfew and we will press for their full and safe reopening in all parts of the country.”

The BGC boss also backed the Government’s move to let limited numbers of spectators watch live sport in Tier 1 and Tier 2 areas.

He said: “It’s great that some crowds will be allowed back to watch live sport in Tiers 1 and 2. The ban has been devastating for sports like horse racing and football, so this sensible step comes at just the right time.”

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