Bookmaker William Hill is set to close 109 betting shops due to the tax increase that has been placed on gambling machines.
William Hill said that the shops were already operating at a loss and with the new tax it is extremely unlikely that they can be made into profitable enterprises. The closures will be causing up to 420 redundancies.
William Hill’s Chief Executive, Ralph Topping, released a statement saying, “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 announcement comes as local councils are set to receive more powers to decide whether betting shops should open in their constituencies. Councils will be able to deny planning permission to betting shop operators if they feel it necessary.
More tax rises are set to hit UK bookmakers over the coming year. William Hill was intending to base its online operations offshore in order to avoid some tax; however, the loophole in the law which would have allowed this has now been closed. Nonetheless, William Hill is confident that the upcoming World Cup will help offset some of its recent falling profits.