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The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has welcomed the reopening of betting shops in England and Wales.

According to BGC chief executive Michael Dugher, the re-opening of betting shops in England and Wales is great news for both the industry and the UK economy.

On April 12, around 6000 bookies commenced operations for the first time since December alongside other non-essential retail, as the UK Government announced the easing of restrictions amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

However, a number of restrictions will be in place in English shops to limit the number of customers. These include the removal of all tables and chairs, no screening of live sport and a 15-minute limit on the amount of time customers can be in a shop. In addition, betting shops have also put in place their own anti-Covid measures, including hand sanitisation centres, Perspex screens and strict social distancing rules.

Michael Dugher, chief executive of the Betting and Gaming Council, said: “It’s great news that high street betting shops in England and Wales are finally able to re-open safely, along with the rest of non-essential retail. It’s been a long three months for betting shop staff, as well as their customers, and I know they are all looking forward to safely getting back to business thanks to the best-in-class anti-Covid measures in place.

“As the recent EY report showed, the UK’s betting shops support 46,000 jobs and paid nearly £1bn in tax to the Treasury in 2020, while our members contribute £350m to horseracing through sponsorship, media rights and the betting levy.

“This means that as well as providing a much-needed boost for the millions of people who enjoy a flutter, they will also be able to play a key role in the UK’s post-Covid economic recovery.”

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