William Hill set to close 700 licensed betting shops

By Nathan Joyes

William Hill will be closing 700 licensed betting shops, a process likely to begin before the end of the year.

The operator has attributed the move to the UK Government’s decision to reduce the maximum stake on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) from £100 ($125.74) to £2 on 1 April 2019.

William Hill says 4,500 jobs are “at risk” due to the closures.

Back in March, William Hill sent out 2,000 letters to its landlords, seeking rent reduction across its shops.

At the time, Ciaran O’Brien, William Hill’s Director of Corporate Communications, told Gambling Insider: “The stake cut was always going to have a significant impact on the business and we think it could close up to 900 shops, but we aren’t going to close anything immediately.

"We’ll look at long-term customer behaviour and what we seek through mitigation, one of which will be through rent reductions.”

Horseracing will also be impacted by the decision, as each betting shop pays roughly £30,000 per annum to broadcast live sport in store.

William Hill said: “The group will look to apply voluntary redundancy and redeployment measures extensively and will be providing support to all colleagues throughout the process.”


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