William Hill To Shutdown 109 Betting Shops Due To Tax Hike
Britain’s largest bookmaker William Hill warned back in February of the dire consequences of an increased tax on foxed odds betting terminals. While politicians are quick to defend the public from the negative social impact these high speed cash cows are, the other side of the coin is that the bookmakers provide employment to thousands countrywide. William Hill warned that it would have to cut costs and manpower in an effort to soften the impact of the tax blow. Today they came good with their threat as they announced they will be closing 109 of their betting shops due to the increase on the FOBTs.
William Hill announced a 14 percent drop in operating profit for the first quarter of 2014 which was largely due to punters winning big on two weekends of soccer in which the top teams won. With the economy still struggling the loss of 420 jobs is a blow for the very communities that the politician are claiming to protect. William Hill are the largest UK bookmaker and have over 2,400 betting shops.
Chief Executive Ralph Topping expressed his feelings on the closure of 109 betting shops,” This is particularly disappointing as, through the economic downturn, we have worked hard to grow our retail base but this further planned increase in indirect taxation makes this action necessary.”
The increase in tax from 20 to 25 percent by the government in March this year is set to have a further impact on other smaller and more vulnerable UK bookmakers. If William Hill are already feeling the pinch one can only imagine how smaller bookmakers like Ladbrokes who up to 40 percent of their revenues come from the FOBTs will cope with the new tax regime.