Issuing its response to the announcement that William Hill could be closing 700 of its betting shops which the betting shop workers union, Community, has described as ‘devastating.’
As announced yesterday, William Hill confirmed that it is taking part in a consultation with its retail counterparts over the possibility that the bookmaker could be shutting a large portion of its shops, with ‘a large number of redundancies is anticipated.’
Commenting on the news, Tom Blenkinsop, Operations Director at Community, said: “This is devastating news for thousands of betting shop workers. We will be advising our members through the consultation process.
“William Hill should immediately engage with Community, so that their staff get additional support and advice during the consultation and all measures can be taken to minimise redundancies and find alternatives.
“The Government also has a role to play and must look at what support they can offer to workers whose jobs are threatened as a consequence of changes to the law around FOBTs.
“Betting shops provide an important source of local employment and many of our members have served the company loyally for years. Workers don’t deserve to be the victims of the changes happening in the industry as a result of either government policy or the significant shift towards online gambling.”
A media statement on behalf of the bookmaker yesterday explained that the closures have been attributed to the legislation introduced over the Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs). It stated: “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.”