Shaky Retail Market Forces William Hill to Close 119 Betting Shops
Last Wednesday, William Hill made the tough call to permanently close its 119 betting operations because of how the Coronavirus pandemic has affected the retail betting business in Great Britain. In a statement made by a company exec during the announcement, the company did not expect their retail betting business to be as lucrative as it was before Covid-19 hit the gaming industry hard. Over 300 employees are going to be affected by the closure of 119 retail kiosks, but most of them have already been absorbed into other positions in the company.
This is however not the first time that William Hill, the sports betting big shot has had to close its retail shops. Early last year, the company halted the operations of over 700 shops across Britain, after the government enacted a law that drastically lowered the limits of fixed-odds betting terminals to £2, from £100.
However, even though William Hill has shut down a significant part of its retail operations, the company is still confident that it will recover from this loss. While announcing the closure of the betting shops last week, the company also disclosed that its online betting business was doing well locally and internationally, as they continue penetrating most of the USA states that have legalized gambling.
As a show of confidence for recovery after COVID-19 closures, Ulrik Bengtsson, William Hill’s Chief Executive Officer announced that they have started paying back the £24.5 million furlough scheme that they received from the government.