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William Hill anounced at 9 am on 04th July 2019 that they were going to close 900 stores in the UK which could risk as many as 4500 jobs.
UK New regulations, a key factor
The strict changes to the UK gambling regulations and laws following the campaigners to crackdown on the fixed-odds betting terminals, which have been labelled as the crack cocaine of gambling, have had a significant impact on the firms revenue.
Last year, the firm warned over profits as regulatory and tax changes hit online growth, saying it will knock it by £20 million in 2018 and a further £25million in 2019. Ministers ignored please from bookmakers and decide to reduce the FOBT maximum stake from £100 down to £2.
Statement from William Hill
William Hill has entered into a consultation process with retail colleagues over plans to close around 700 licensed betting offices. This follows the Government’s decision to reduce the maximum stake on B2 gaming products to £2 on 1 April 2019. Since then 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.
A large number of redundancies is anticipated with 4,500 colleagues at risk. The Group will look to apply voluntary redundancy and redeployment measures extensively and will be providing support to all colleagues throughout the process.
Subject to the outcome of the consultation process, shop closures are likely to begin before the end of the year.
Staff were called into conference this morning
We learn and understand that staff were asked to attend a conference call at 9am this morning when they were informed of the news.
Those at risk were believed to be turn up at 9am whereas those who are safe were asked to come at 9.15am.
Some staff on social media are reporting that the call cost them 13p per minute to dial in, depending on their mobile phone network.
Statement from the works' Union
Tom Blenkinsop, from betting shop workers union Community, made the following statement: “This is devastating news for thousands of betting shop workers. We will be advising our members through the consultation process.”
He added: “The Government also has a role to play and must look at what support they can offer to workers whose jobs are threatened as a consequence of changes to the law around FOBTs.
“Betting shops provide an important source of local employment and many of our members have served the company loyally for many years. Workers don’t deserve to be the victims of the changes happening in the industry as a result of either government policy or the significant shift towards online gambling.”