Hundreds of betting shops in Scotland have reopened following an easing of restrictions by the country’s government.
The Scottish government announced all 11 areas living under the country’s strictest tier four levels of coronavirus restrictions were to be downgraded to level three from 11 December.
That means non-essential retail, such as betting shops, have been allowed to reopen in the 11 areas, after around 400 betting stores – half of Scotland’s total — were forced shut in November.
Coronavirus infection rates in the areas, which includes Glasgow City, East Ayrshire, South Ayrshire, West Lothian and Stirling, have fallen since the strictest measures were introduced to them.
The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) lauded the re-opening of betting shops in the country but urged the Scottish government to also allow casinos to reopen in level three areas, which are currently being prohibited to do so.
Casinos in Scotland were closed in mid-March until 24 August, but the majority were forced shut again from 10 October following tighter restrictions in central Scotland, before the rest followed suit in early November.
BGC CEO Michael Dugher said: “It’s great news for staff and customers that betting shops can open their doors again.
“They have introduced a range of anti-COVID measures, including Perspex screens, hand sanitisers and strict social distancing rules, so they are a safe environment for people to work and enjoy a bet.
“But so have casinos, so they should be able to safely open their doors again as well.
“The economic contribution betting shops – and casinos – make in terms of tax paid to the Treasury, as well as the jobs they provide, will be vital as the UK recovers from the impact of the pandemic.”