Gambling machines at betting shops in the UK can now operate even under the strict Tier 3 lockdown, but arcades still cannot open.
This move has caused considerable fury among operators of family entertainment centers (FECs) and arcades who feel that they have been unfairly treated as there's an un-level playing field.
The trade association BACTA, the BGC covering the bookmakers, and the Bingo Association had arranged conference talks with government officials over the measures to allow their venues to open, even under the strict Tier 3 lockdown.
In England, only the bookmakers' shops are allowed to open, causing fury among their high street rivals who are still forced to close.
Apparently the bookmakers agreed to have an 8pm curfew and would only allow 15 minutes of dwell time in the venue, and no more than two visits a day. Also, two machines have to be switched off and no races can be screened on shop monitors.
While the arcades and FECs association, BACTA, had offered further concessions on capacity but not dwell time - so did casinos and bingo halls - it could not countenance going to limits on how long players could be on the premises and decided that 15 minutes would not be commercially viable.
Meanwhile in neighboring Scotland, there is a similar situation with bookies allowed to open while arcades and adult gaming centers must be closed.
Wales has already had its own two-week lockdown and closed its border with England. Now, machines in pubs and arcades are back in action, until the evening curfew.