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24 hours into re-opening Ireland’s bookmaker biz shuts back down

The luck of this Irish was definitely not with Irish bookmakers this week as the flip-flopped from pandemic closure to joyous reopening and back to closure – all in the course of just 24 hours.

The Irish bookmaker’s shocking back-and-forth started last week when a number of shops believed they had the all clear to open as part of the country’s phase 2 reopening. In fact, some of the smaller shops have been open since June 8. The bigger shops, like Paddy Power, held off on reopening until Monday of this week so they could implement social distancing measures. But just hours after re-opening in good faith, the bookmakers were told by public health officials that were not cleared for takeoff and had to once again shutter their doors.

In an interview with the Irish Times, Irish National Bookmakers Association spokesperson Sharon Bryne described the situation saying, “The government published a statutory instrument last week. It only became available to us yesterday (Monday.) That lists the sectors that are not included in non-essential retail for the purposes of the acceleration of openings.

“It listed licensed betting shops in it. It simply states licensed bookmakers as per the 1931 betting act, section 27.

“This is different to what we understood was the accelerated programme and our shops had opened on June 8th.”

Byre went on to say that she thinks that bookmakers will be able to actually open up (for real this time) sometime closer to June 29 when the country implements phase three reopening. At least they’ll already have all their social distancing measures in place.