As lockdown restrictions ease in Ireland, the hospitality industry may begin to breathe a sigh of relief. Sites that have had to downsize or even completely suspend service may start to look forward to welcoming customers and generating revenue again. But not all places of hospitality are considered equal.
Shops, guesthouses, hotels and self-catering accommodation will reopen on June 2, including unlimited use of indoor dining and bar areas, as well as on-site leisure facilities. Outdoor bars and restaurants will follow on June 7, with outdoor dining in groups of up to six people.
However, it will be another month before discussions begin regarding the reopening of restaurants, bars, nightclubs and indoor casinos.
While other businesses have been open during part of the pandemic, nightclubs and casinos have largely been closed since the country was first locked down in March 2020.
Physical casinos, like Fitzpatrick’s Casino in Limerick, were forced to close when the lockdown began and to cancel events until further notice. There is, however, cautious optimism displayed with the website accepting reservations for the Christmas holidays.
The casino industry was well positioned to adapt to the lockdown, with live casino games and secure studio streaming by Covid, “TV Games,” giving Irish players plenty of online casino options.
Online casinos have some obvious advantages, such as the absence of overheads and seasonal downturns, which the pandemic has highlighted. Online gambling has increased in lockdown worldwide, and Ireland is no exception.
Yet land-based casinos contribute to Ireland’s tourist economy. Under Irish gambling laws, land-based casinos are technically prohibited, however, a loophole allows members-only gambling clubs. Ireland has around 12 such establishments, the majority of which are located in Dublin. About 65 million euros are generated each year by land-based casinos or private member clubs.
According to Tourism Ireland, the island welcomed 11.2 million visitors to our coasts in 2018, generating an overall turnover of 5.86 billion euros. Whether green passports will allow tourism to thrive in the second half of 2021 remains to be seen. July.
Without a specific opening day being confirmed, land-based casinos must continue to wait to know their fate. That doesn’t mean they can’t start preparing, though. Whatever the clientele, these sites must be fully staffed.
With hotels like the Radisson Blu Hotel in Limerick hiring new staff to reopen, we might see the same in the land-based gambling industry.
In the meantime, players can continue to play at online casinos. An increase in sports betting is also expected, with outdoor sports being allowed again from June 7, but without spectators.