William Hill has announced plans to close around 700 betting shops across the UK, putting up to 4,500 jobs at risk.
The bookmaker has blamed changes to gambling rules which have resulted in a “significant fall” in fixed-odds gaming machine revenues. From April 1, the maximum stake gamblers can place on fixed-odds betting terminals was cut from £100 to £2.
Fixed-odds gaming machines allow gamblers place bets on the outcome of simulated games and events such as roulette, blackjack, bingo and horse racing.
The company said in a statement: “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 company plans to begin shutting shops by the end of the year, but has not announced which ones will close.
The bookmaker, which is part of the Ladbrokes Coral group, currently has 3,475 stores.
Photo: William Hill on Bangor High Street