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Irish bookmakers shut down to mitigate Covid-19 spread

The Irish Bookmakers Association is taking one for the team by voluntarily closing down the “vast majority” of retail betting shops until March 29. The effort from the industry is part of a worldwide effort to slow the spread of the deadly Covid-19 virus that’s currently taking an ugly human and financial toll across the globe.

In a statement reported on by the Irish Times, the gambling industry trade group said, “In line with the spirit and letter of the social distancing guidelines from the government in the Republic of Ireland we are closing all Paddy Power betting shops in the Republic of Ireland from tomorrow morning until March 29.

“This is a developing situation and we will review all necessary measures as matters progress with safety of our employees and customers foremost in our minds.”

The announcement from the Irish Bookmakers Association came late yesterday with a call for the betting shops to shut down beginning March 17. Compliance with the order is voluntary, but it’s expected that almost all members will comply. Besides being the right thing to do, there are also precious few sporting events to even wager on anywhere in the world.

To say that this move will have a profound impact on the bookmaking industry in Ireland is something of an understatement. Not only are bookmakers losing business today, but whole categories of wagers such total win/loss, etc…have cratered completely.

Paddy Power, Ireland’s biggest bookmaker saw shares of their parent company Flutter drop by 20 percent yesterday alone on the news.