‘Betting Shops Not Virus Contributors’

BHA Chief pleads with government

British Horseracing Authority (BHA) chief executive Nick Rust has asked the UK government to treat betting shops the same as other retail outlets when the lockdown in England ends on 2 December , reports racingpost.com.


“Cabinet have been meeting to discuss what is going to happen, so we’re waiting on the news to see what happens. We’ve made clear to government as best we can that we don’t see the case for betting shops being treated differently from other so called ‘non-essential retail’ and we hope they take that into account when making their decisions,” said Rust.

“There is no evidence we have seen through the work done with the BGC through the test and trace system that betting shops have been a contributor to the spread of the virus.”

The month-long lockdown is estimated to have cost racing £12.5 million in lost levy and media rights payments due to the closure of all 5681 betting shops in England.

With regard to the £40 million in loans potentially available to UK racing, Rust said, “We need to work on a package that means the sport works together in paying this money back. If it is only racecourses that can borrow, then frankly why would they all want to take on additional loan burdens without the sport providing a way through to help them with those loans?”

The loans are part of a £300m winter aid package for selected sports in England adversely impacted by the inability to host paying spectators due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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