Bookmaker William Hill has announced that it plans to close 700 high street shops which will result in the loss of 4,500 jobs. The business operates around 2,300 shops across the UK, and employs approximately 12,500 staff. The closures follow changes to legislation on fixed odd betting terminals. Under the new legislation the maximum stake for the machines has been reduced from GBP 100 (€111.35) to GBP 2 (€2.22) after concerns were raised that gamblers were able to lose significant sums in a short period of time. Since the changes which took effect from April 2019, bookmakers such as William Hill have reported lower gaming revenues.
The shops that will close will be confirmed through the statutory consultation process, though according to at least one report, employees are already being told. William Hill has stated that it will seek to implement as many changes through voluntary redundancy as possible, and that it will consider redeployment options where appropriate. However, the company has said that it expects a significant number of redundancies. The closures are expected to begin before the end of 2019.