After a last minute U-turn, England’s adult gaming centres were not permitted to reopen yesterday, June 15, pending announcement by the government that non-essential retail businesses will reopen.
According to Bacta, the United Kingdom’s trade association for the amusement and gaming machine industry, the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport told them on Friday evening that AGCs will be on the list of non-essential high street premises that are permitted to reopen.
Betting shops, which were listed for Monday’s openings alongside arcades, will still be permitted to resume business as long as the premises are COVID free.
Since then, Bacta has urged its members to call for any ‘political contact they have’ to reverse the decision.
Bacta chief executive officer John White said: “I cannot see how two very similar high street venues can be treated differently. There’s no logic to it and the consequences are nothing short of catastrophic to the AGC sector.
“Bacta is calling for every member to act immediately by phoning and emailing any political contact that they have whether MP or local councillor, to tell the Prime Minister that he has made a serious mistake and he must reverse this outrageous decision.”
AGC operators had made ‘significant investments’ in preparing to open their doors yesterday, having been included on the original list of non-essential businesses for reopening. Bacta claims this U-turn is going to have a major financial impact.
Bacta calls on the government to use the definition of the Gambling Act to clarify the distinction between AGCs and FECs as the term ‘amusement arcades’ employed in Schedule 2 of the Coronovirus Act is ‘imprecise.’
White finished by saying: “If they delete the Term and insert FECs, so they remain closed and AGCs can then open.”