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Coronavirus: NI bookmakers fear closure and unemployment

Fixed odds betting terminalImage copyright

Organizations representing Northern Ireland bookmakers have warned that if the industry does not resume trading immediately, shops will be closed and jobs will be lost.

The gambling store is expected to reopen in the UK and soon to open in the Republic of Ireland.

However, no date has been set for the reopening in Northern Ireland.

According to the NI Turf Guardians Association, the longer a store is closed, the more likely it is to lose a job and permanently close the store.

The association’s secretary, Paul McLean, told Good Morning Ulster that it was “pretty confusing” when the shop could open.

“We were envisioning it like any other non-essential retailer that was allowed to open a few weeks ago,” he says.

“But we were on the list later, when we were told that the bookmaker wasn’t allowed to open.

“I don’t know when it will open,” the industry said.

“We had dates for pubs, cafes, hairdressers and tanning studios, and we don’t know how to think it’s more dangerous to reopen,” he said.

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Approximately 1500 people work at NI gaming stores

The association represents the majority of nearly 300 gambling stores trading in Northern Ireland.

There are about 1,500 staff working in the industry.

“Facility will be closed”

McLean said bookmakers want to get people back to work.

“The longer we stay closed, the more likely there is redundancy within the industry as people are forced to bet online when our store is closed “He said.

“When people are forced to bet online, they are not going to come to the store, and obviously we will have difficulty getting them back in the store.”

He said he should continue, “facility will be closed and jobs will be lost.”

The ministry of community said it would consider reopening the bookstore as part of a broader review of the current restrictions.

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