UK betting shops and bookmakers have been given the ok to reopen operations on June 15, according to a report in the UK Express. The is part of UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s plan to restore some semblance of normal life to UK citizens and revitalize its shattered economy by allowing “non-essential” retail businesses to resume operations. It’s news that was no doubt welcomed in the board rooms of gambling operators, but the road to recovery is anything but a sure bet for any business.

For starters, “resumed” operations do not mean “normal” operations by any stretch. All retail outlets, including betting shops, will be subject to social distancing and disinfecting protocols. Though specifics have not been laid out just yet, that’s usually meant operating at half capacity. This may not impact life at a bookmaking shop, but will certainly impact those establishments that also offer video betting terminals.

Then there’s the thorny question of whether retail demand will return in numbers enough to support the shops that do reopen? With massive uncertainty, rampant unemployment, and a dearth of sporting events for betting on in the first place, business at the newly reopened shops may be slow.

One event punters will have an opportunity to wager on is the Royal Ascot series. The climax of the British horse racing season is set for June 16 and shops will no doubt do everything they can to get players in to wager on its outcome.

Since UK betting shops closed in mid-March more than 50,000 retail gambling workers have been furloughed or lost their livelihoods completely.


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