UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Monday that non-essential shops can reopen starting on June 15th. For bookmakers, this works out well as the popular Royal Ascot is set to take place on the 16th. GVC, the parent company of Ladbrokes and Coral, announced they are prepared and will have some shops open by the 15th, ready to take bets on the race.
Betting shops in the UK were expected to remain closed until July 4th. This would have been when the third phase of lockdown reopening process began. However, it seems things have changed and the retail betting industry will be up and running, at least in some capacity, just before one of the biggest meetings of the year takes place.
According to The Guardian…
A GVC spokesperson said that the company is well prepared to have some shops open by June and they will be following the Covid-19 secure guidance as they reopen.
The early reopening before the Royal Ascot could be a huge boost for the racing industry, which relies on the money from daily meetings to stay afloat. The horse races have not taken place since mid-March when the coronavirus became a real problem and businesses began shutting down.
The Royal Ascot is a five-day affair and will most likely be the first major sporting event to take place as the lockdown restrictions ease in Britain. Normally, the industry would be expected to contribute around £5m to Levy revenue. About 50% of that amount comes from the betting shops.