Over 500 bingo halls and other gaming establishments in Colombia’s capital city Bogota are set to re-open following the approval of mayor Claudia Lopez.
The news means that 532 gaming establishments in Bogota will be allowed to return to business, along with theatres, churches, gyms and cinemas, although all venues will have to operate in accordance with strict rules on biosecurity and visitor capacity. Not all leisure venues are set to open, however, and bars, dance venues, discos and large indoor events will remain closed.
The restrictions to which facilities will have to adhere include offering enhanced cleaning, the placing of barriers between gaming machines, a restriction on opening hours and a complete ban on the consumption of food and beverages. In addition, all gambling venues will have to enforce a lower capacity than normal and a two meter distance between customers.
The reopening will mean that 17 bingo halls will be able to open their doors along with 515 casinos, and more than 7,000 employees will be able to return to work. In addition, the city coffers will be given a boost by the return of tax revenue from the gambling sector, which is used mainly to finance the healthcare system. It has been estimated that the six months of inactivity in the gambling sector may have cost the city’s healthcare sector as much as £13.5 million.
Speaking about the reopening, the President of gambling industry body Fecoljuegos, Evert Montero Cardenas, said that it was the result of considerable hard work within the sector:
“Fecoljuegos, its board of directors, the work team and the affiliated operators have worked with the conviction and commitment that this activity requires and with the strength and dedication that has been fundamental in this process.”
He also emphasised that the industry was committed to being responsible and to complying with the necessary biosecurity rules, and that taking care of all employees and customers was the priority.