It was only going to be a matter of time before one of the leading bookmakers over in the UK announced a swathe of shop closures, and having tried to weather the FOBT stake reduction as best they can, William Hill are the first one to announce a large number of casualties.
It had become apparent for many weeks now that due to the maximum stake permitted on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals being reduced down from £100 down to just £2 per game played, that players had started to give those gaming machines on which Roulette, Blackjack and slot machines could be played, a very wide berth and had moved their gaming action online.
However, yesterday it was announced by William Hill that they intend to close 700 betting shops over the next few months and sadly some 4,500 jobs are likely to be lost.
There was a mixed reaction when the news broke of those shop closures and job losses, with some commentators happy to see the back of so many betting shops, which had been increasing over the last decade or so solely to help increase the number of FOBT’s bookies operates, as a maximum of four of those machines were permitted per shop.
On the other hand, some people were outraged that so many jobs were to be lost, blaming the small number of gambling problem charities that had been badgering the government for years to reduce the stakes on those gaming machines, and must have known job losses would be the likely result of them finally doing so.
Fortunately for William Hill, they have been massively expanding their US land based sportsbook operation over the last year or so, and as such even though they are closing down so many betting shops, they are still going to remain a profitable company worldwide, even if their UK operation is going to shrink in size moving forward,