Archives for July 5, 2019

William Hill to Close About 700 Betting Shops in UK

Wednesday’s news that William Hill will close about 700 betting shops over the next few months, around a third of its retail estate, puts the jobs of 4,500 company staff at risk (and up to 12,000 in the industry) and will also mean a cut of around £21m in media rights payments to Britain’s racecourses, on top of an unexpected £17m drop in the money collected by the Levy Board in 2018-19, which was revealed in May.

Only the staff who are going to lose their jobs can be seen as unfortunate or blameless, however, as the 15-year story of the disastrous decision to allow high-speed, high-stakes roulette into Britain’s betting shops draws towards what was always likely to be a painful conclusion.

William Hill, along with the other major chains, was allowed to suck billions of pounds from what were already deprived areas the length and breadth of Britain, when Labour’s 2005 Gambling Act legitimised the gaming machines which they had been quietly introducing to their shops for ….