Hundreds of Scottish betting shops face temporary closure under new restrictions
Nearly 500 betting shops are set to close in Scotland from Friday evening when 11 council areas are placed under the country's strictest lockdown restrictions to combat the spread of Covid-19.
Non-essential shops will be among the businesses forced to close under the Level Four rules which are set to remain in place until December 11.
However, professional sport is allowed to continue under Level Four restrictions so racing will be unaffected.
First minister Nicola Sturgeon said there were grounds for "continued and significant concern" in the areas involved which include Glasgow and east and south Ayrshire.
She added: "The clear advice of our public health experts therefore is that we must drive infection rates down further in these areas, and they are not confident that Level Three restrictions will do this to the extent necessary."
The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) said that 487 betting shops would be affected, more than half the total in Scotland.
A BGC spokesperson said: "The BGC fully supports the Scottish government's efforts to slow the spread of Covid-19.
"Nevertheless, it is extremely disappointing for staff and customers that betting shops in these council areas will now unfortunately have to close, not least because of the excellent anti-Covid measures which have enabled them to operate safely since they re-opened in the summer.
"We hope that the shops will be able to re-open as soon as possible so they can go back to contributing to the economy."
Independent high-street bookmaker Scotbet will have to close five of their 30 remaining shops.
The company's chairman John Heaton has spoken of his frustration over the inconsistency in the level of financial support given to bookmakers in England compared to their counterparts in Scotland, saying the Scottish government had treated them "disgracefully".
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