Gambling: Coronavirus

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport written question – answered on 8th December 2020.

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Photo of Andrew Rosindell Andrew Rosindell Conservative, Romford

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when adult gaming centres will be able to re-open in tier three local covid-19 alert level areas.

Photo of Philip Davies Philip Davies Conservative, Shipley

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what opportunity the Government made available to (a) adult gaming centres, (b) bingo halls and (c) casinos to adopt covid-secure measures as a condition of re-opening in areas subject to Tier Three covid-19 restrictions from 2 December 2020.

Photo of Philip Davies Philip Davies Conservative, Shipley

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what evidence his Department received on the rate of covid-19 transmission in (a) adult gaming centres, (b) bingo halls and (c) casinos to support the decision for those businesses based in tier three local covid alert level areas to remain closed from 2 December 2020.

Photo of Scott Benton Scott Benton Conservative, Blackpool South

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he had with adult gaming centres on covid-secure measures prior to the decision to close those centres under tier three covid-19 restrictions.

Photo of Scott Benton Scott Benton Conservative, Blackpool South

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what impact assessment he has made of the decision to not allow adult gaming centres to reopen in tier three covid-19 local lockdown areas.

Photo of Mark Pawsey Mark Pawsey Conservative, Rugby

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he took to provide adult gaming centres with the opportunity to adopt similar measures to licensed betting offices in order to re-open in tier 3 areas from 2 December 2020.

Photo of Graham Stringer Graham Stringer Labour, Blackley and Broughton

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what evidence his Department received on the rate of covid-19 transmission in adult gaming centres to justify keeping such centres closed in areas with tier 3 restrictions in December 2020.

Photo of Nigel Huddleston Nigel Huddleston Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

The government, with advice from SAGE, reviewed the impact of the previous tiering arrangements and decided that unfortunately stricter rules on tier 3 closures would be necessary to have an impact on the rate of transmission in very high alert areas. This led to the decision that all hospitality and indoor entertainment venues in tier 3 areas would have to close, including casinos, bingo halls and adult gaming centres. SAGE advice is independent and published on a regular basis on: www.gov.uk/government/organisations/scientific-advisory-group-for-emergencies

The government has continued to engage with the land-based gambling sector throughout the pandemic, including with its trade associations the Betting and Gaming Council, Bacta and the Bingo Association. The Minister for Sports, Heritage and Tourism has had a series of roundtable discussions with the industry to discuss the impact of Covid-19, including representatives from two of Britain’s largest AGC operators. DCMS officials have been in regular contact with the representative trade associations and fed their views into the government decision-making process, and they are continuing to do so.

Government has set out an analysis of the health, economic and social impacts of the tiered approach, which can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-health-economic-and-social-effects-of-covid-19-and-the-tiered-approach. As on previous occasions, local data packs have also been published.

Epidemiological data and projection models on local restriction tiers, including commentary on individual tier allocation decisions, can also be found at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/938964/Coronavirus_England_briefing_26_November.pdf.

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