Irish bookmaker Paddy Power, along with the majority of the country’s independent firms have announced that they will be closing their retail premises until March 29, following the lead of fellow Irish operator Boylesports.
The move followed the decision of Boylesports to announce the closure of their 278 retail outlets in Ireland, after the Irish government brought forward social distancing measures to combat the virus. Paddy Power have now announced that their 250 shops will be closed and the Irish Bookmakers Association (IBA) has confirmed that most of its members are set to close their premises by the end of the week. Ladbrokes, which also operates in Ireland has yet to follow suit.
The closures mean that 650 betting shops throughout the country will be closing down, with the potential for thousands of jobs to be at risk.
In a statement, Paddy Power said that the measures were in line with the guidance issued by the national government to combat the pandemic, and they didn’t rule out further steps:
“This is a developing situation and we will review all necessary measures as matters progress with the safety of our employees and customers foremost in our minds.”
For the IBA, chairperson Sharon Byrne, said that it was vital that the retail betting industry played its part in the national effort to prevent the spread of the virus. She added that betting firms would continue to follow government advice and that most would be closing before the end of the week, after taking appropriate steps to notify customers and staff.
The announcements of betting shop closures came despite the fact that the share prices of major bookmakers in the UK and Ireland dropped significantly on Monday, with some big betting firms stating that the absence of sports events could mean the loss of up to £100 million revenue this year.