Ireland is closing down the betting shops to help slow down the pandemic

19 March 2020
By Roger Jones
roger@TheCork.ie

File photo: People wishing to place bets are now doing so online, because betting shops have mostly closed

As the world is trying to flatten the curve of the outbreak to avoid the fate that some countries are currently battling with, many businesses are closing down for a couple of weeks, hoping to make a positive impact on their communities and slow down the process of COVID-19 spreading.

Most of the major companies are now offering their employees to work from home if possible, some providing sick leave, some not.

For the businesses that absolutely need people to be there, this is a tough time. Supermarkets and Chemists are operating as per usual but are requested to apply specific conditions and limitations. Meanwhile, bars are forced to close down as public gatherings are becoming more and more dangerous and social distancing is becoming the most mainstream way to live these days. Ireland’s has been trying to prevent the virus outbreak from getting out of hand and is following these same guidelines as well.

This is why the betting shops will be closed for the next 14 days, waiting for the clear signs that public gatherings are no longer dangerous.

Ireland has so far done a good job of preventing the crisis situation from rising, but the most important period to stay isolated is right now.

What does this mean for the gambling industry?

While the shop will likely be closed for even longer than 14 days, the industry that absolutely needs people to interact and visit their establishment in person might be facing a big hurdle. But on the other hand, online gambling providers will have the chance to give these services for people who have previously preferred to gamble in the old fashion way. The social distancing will likely create a lot of new fans for the online gambling community and while Ireland is trying to minimize the amount of virus cases, people can stay home and enjoy gambling from the comfort of their own home. This is a great opportunity for the digital side of gambling to finally become mainstream across Ireland and online casinos should make the most of this given opportunity.

Not everyone on board

Not all casinos are following the recommendations. Some countries have shown more willingness to close down businesses while in the US this does not seem to be the case. Even the casinos have kept working as the outbreak is clearly getting worse in the states. In New York, where the risk of the pandemic spreading faster than in other areas, casinos are mostly refusing to close down because of the fears of the revenue taking a big toll.

While the economic challenges at this point seem inevitable, there needs to be more responsible choices coming from the operators themselves. The Empire City Casino in Yonkers seems to be the only one that is shutting down right now. This might have had something to do with the fact that one of the casino employers actually passed away due to the virus so the company was forced to take a harder stance.

While the governments need to do all in their power to enforce safety measures, it will inevitably come down to individuals who must make informed decisions, stay out of the public places and maintain distance when going out for groceries or different pharmaceuticals. It is crucial for everyone in the world to feel the person responsible for containing the virus as much as possible and to think about the consequences that their outings might have on people with weaker immune systems. Even if the companies refuse to close down unnecessary entertainment events, citizens should know better than to go to public places while the outbreak has still not reached its peak.

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