The British bookmaker William Hill, which is known all over the world, recently stunned its customers when it announced unexpectedly that it would be closing 700 of its local betting shops. Now, the bookie has claimed that the move was driven by the government’s harsh new rules on fixed odds betting machines (FOBTs), which have required it to offset about £820 million ($1.02 billion) in losses. These strict new laws on FOBTs were introduced because the bookie was compelled to compensate for these losses.
According to a report that was published in Britain’s The Guardian newspaper, an operator based in London has stated that the closing of its shops could result in the loss of employment for as many as 4,500 individuals. In light of this, the bookmaker has committed to “utilizing voluntary redundancies” and to assisting employees who have been made redundant in seeking new employment opportunities.
Other Bookies Reveal Plans That Are Comparable
The study went on to disclose more information, including the fact that in April, new restrictions were implemented that reduced the maximum bet that could be taken by FOBT machines from £100 to just £2. Reputable bookmaking conglomerates like as Ladbrokes Coral Group and Betfred are said to have been compelled by this action to adopt estate reduction plans in a manner analogous to this one. The bookmakers have underlined that the gambling machines have brought in as much as half of their high street profits in the past. This is despite the fact that the bookies’ competitor, Paddy Power Betfair (formerly Flutter Entertainment), does not anticipate that their business would be badly affected.
It has been reported that GVC Holdings, the company that owns the Ladbrokes Coral Group, has issued a warning that it may be forced to close approximately 900 stores, which would result in the loss of more than 5,000 employment as a direct result of the new legislation. Betfred, on the other hand, has forecasted that it will be closing approximately 500 stores and making 2,500 employees redundant in the near future. According to supplementary information provided by The Guardian, a worst-case scenario involving the closing of 2,100 betting shops may account for almost one-quarter of the 8,423 land-based sports betting establishments in the UK and might result in the collective termination of 12,500 jobs.
A Former Minister of Sports Who Is Unmoved
Tracey Crouch, who served as the Sports Minister under the previous administration, has shown little sign of emotion in spite of the tragic news. It has been claimed that she has told press representatives that blaming the business closures on a fall in FOBT stakes alone is “too simplistic.” The conservative lawmaker resigned from her position the previous year in protest at a delay in the adoption of the lower stakes. At the time, she noted that the popularity of the contentious machines led to a significant over-inflation in the number of bookies on the high streets of the United Kingdom. Her resignation was in response to the delay in the introduction of the lower stakes.
Crouch mentioned in an interview with The Guardian that the betting business has been going through a period of consolidation and that bookies have been making efforts to promote iGaming choices that are less expensive for some time now. She stated that the latest KPMG research on the subject, which was funded by the industry, anticipated that a large number of betting shops would close regardless of whether or not stakes were lowered.