William Hill to close 700 betting shops

Around 4,500 jobs are at risk at the bookmaker

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Bookmaker William Hill has announced plans to axe 700 of its shops across the UK.

The move puts 4,500 jobs at risks, and the company has already begun consultation meetings with affected staff.

Closures are set to begin by the end of the year, but William Hill says it is too early to confirm which shops will close until consultations are complete.

The group blamed the closures on the government's decision to slash the maximum stake on fixed-odds betting terminals to £2 in April this year.

Previously, the electronic machines had a limit of £100.

In a statement on the closures, William Hill said: "The company has seen a significant fall in gaming machine revenues, in line with the guidance given when the government's decision was announced in May 2018."

The closures will see William Hill's 2,282 shop estate shrink by almost a third.

But Safer Online Gambling Group campaigner, Adam Bradford, welcomed the closures.

"It is bad for the 4,500 they say are losing their jobs, but it's good news for addicts and the wider population," he told talkRADIO's Mike Graham.

"These people's jobs were propped up by the money of gambling addicts, and that's not a good thing."

He continued: "I am going to stand on the side of addicts on this one and say a few jobs lost is much better than suicide related to gambling addiction."

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