BGC criticises Scottish Government’s “baffling” gaming machine U-turn

The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has criticised a decision by the Scottish Government to backtrack on the lifting of betting shop restrictions.

Earlier this month, the Scottish Government agreed to lift a number of restrictions which had been placed on the nation’s betting shops since they reopened on 29 June after a period of COVID-19 forced closures.

These restrictions included the removal of chairs from betting shops and bans on live racing on TV and the use of gaming machines.

Although agreeing to lift the restrictions on 22 July, the Scottish Government has ordered betting shops to once again shut down their gaming machines in what the BGC has described as an “apparent U-turn.”

According to the BGC, Scottish restrictions have led to a fall in turnover of up to 95% for some betting shops.

In a letter to BGC CEO Michael Dugher explaining the decision, a Scottish Government official described a desire to “have a consistent approach regarding the use of gaming machines while always keeping people safe.”

Brigid Simmonds, chairman of the BGC, commented: “We are extremely disappointed by the Scottish Government’s decision, which directly contradicts what they told us previously.

“I would urge ministers in Scotland to urgently reconsider this baffling decision and revert to the position they had less than a week ago.”

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