BOOKMAKERS in Scotland are celebrating after the Scottish Government agreed to lift a number of restrictions placed on betting shops.

The shops were allowed to reopen their doors on June 29 for the first time since the COVID-19 lockdown.

But unlike in the rest of the UK, the shops were ordered to remove all of their chairs, switch off their gaming machines and not show any live racing on TV.

East Lothian Courier: Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) chief executive Michael Dugher Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) chief executive Michael Dugher

As a result, turnover in some shops slumped by 95 per cent as customers either stayed away or crossed the border to England to put on a bet.

Industry bosses warned that unless the restrictions were lifted, shops could be forced to close and staff made redundant.

Following a campaign by the Betting and Gaming Council, it has now been confirmed that from July 22, the restrictions will no longer apply.

However, the shops will still follow strict anti-COVID measures, with customers being encouraged to apply sanitiser and follow social-distancing rules.

BGC chief executive Michael Dugher said: “This is great news for Scotland’s 900 betting shops and the 4,500 hardworking staff that they employ.

 “We have always said that the extra restrictions imposed on Scottish betting shops were unnecessary.

"We are delighted that the Scottish Government has listened and responded. 

East Lothian Courier:

 “Betting shops in Scotland can now look forward to playing their part in helping to kickstart the economy, supporting Scottish racing and providing a safe environment for customers who enjoy a flutter.”