The bookmakers and gambling operators in the UK have now started to feel the heat of the new regulations. Citing changes in the gambling rules, William Hill has announced that they would be closing around 700 Betting shops across the UK.
The move by the top UK bookmaker would also be putting 4,500 jobs at risk. William Hill has confirmed that they would have to close at least 700 betting shops if they become unprofitable.
Earlier in January, the bookmaker had announced that they would be closing 900 stores. However, at present, they plan to shut 700. The company also confirmed that they are not planning any other large scale closure as of now.
The company had said earlier that closing shops would cost them up to £60,000 each, and that their operating profits would go down by at least up to £100million a year.
William Hill owns and operates around 2,300 stores in the UK.
Adam Bradford, the founder of the Safer Online Gambling Group, said: “This move was long in coming for the betting industry who failed to protect addicts and clean up their act in time.
“Betting machines on the high street have caused untold misery, and now punters will make their move into the growing area of online betting.
“For the industry to remain sustainable, the online firms need to implement their spend checking and affordability limits online quickly to prevent a similar crackdown.”
The decision to close betting shops comes after the maximum stake limit on FOBT’s was reduced from 100 GBP to 2 GBP.
While most UK betting operators are eyeing other regulated European markets and the expanding gambling markets in the US, William Hill is not the only major betting operator to announce shop closures.
Earlier in April, Ladbrokes also said that they would shut down 1000 betting stores which would put around 5000 jobs at risk.
According to the reports, William Hill may start closing the betting shops beginning the end of the year.