Bookmakers In Ireland To Close Doors Whilst Racing Continues

Irish bookmakers will close their doors to the public, upon confirmation that the country is entering a six-week lockdown, but with horse racing and greyhound racing excluded from the new rules.

More than 800 betting shops across Ireland will be affected by the steps that will see the entire country join Level 5 lockout protocols, a step that BoyleSports has said will have a ‘very significant effect’ on industry.

BoyleSports said in a statement: “The Government’s decision to shut down all non-essential retail will have a very significant effect on our business. More importantly, it will impact our 1,500 loyal and hardworking retail employees as well as our valued customers.

“Over the past six months, BoyleSports has invested over €1m in making our shops a safe environment for our customers. We have put up new screens on our counters and between machines, installed hand-sanitizing stations and have placed extensive signage in every store.

“At the same time, we have significantly restricted the number of people allowed in any one BoyleSports shop at any time to ensure compliance with all public-health guidance. We look forward to the reopening of our shops in Ireland on the 1st of December.”

Originally, the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) proposed that the nation hit Level 5 a fortnight ago. Nevertheless, a letter from Dr Tony Holohan, the country’s chief medical officer, said there will be a “exemption for professional/elite/senior inter-county/horseracing behind closed doors.”

Under the new restrictions, along with the GAA inter-county championships, horse racing and greyhound racing would be allowed to continue behind closed doors, as they are known as professional and elite sports.