Royal Ascot and the return of the Premier League promised an accelerated kick start for the betting industry this week but shops remained closed yesterday after confusion over whether they could be allowed open under public health guidelines.
After being understood to be included in the reopening of non-essential retail a number of smaller and independent betting shops opened last week to capitalise on the return of horse racing and greyhound racing in Ireland.
Paddy Power chose to wait until this week in order to ensure consistency across their estate with social distancing measures.
All shops were open on Monday but then it emerged that they were in fact excluded from the phase two reopening, alongside hairdressers and beauty salons.
All of the major retailers including Paddy power and Ladbrokes remained closed yesterday as the starting gates opened on Royal Ascot.
The online and mobile side of the betting business, for the major retailers at any rate, will provide comfort from the enforced re-closure until June 29th though the later date will also mean there are no betting shops open for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at the Curragh.
The Irish Bookmakers Association is seeking clarity as to whether the inclusion of betting shops in the list of those retail outlets prohibited from opening yet was intended or accidental.
“All our shops in England and Ireland have detailed operational protocols in place to ensure that social distancing and other public health requirements are met in full in the interests of colleagues and customers,” said Paddy Power yesterday.
The firm’s betting shops in England remained open but those in Wales, Scotland and on the island of Ireland remain closed.
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