WILLIAM Hill plans to close around 700 betting shops, putting 4,500 jobs at risk.
It is the the first major round of closures since the maximum stake on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) was cut from £100 to £2 on April 1.
These are machines where gamblers can place bets on the outcome of simulated games and events such as roulette, blackjack, bingo and horse racing.
Since the gambling laws came into effect, William Hill has seen a "significant fall" in gaming machine revenues, the bookmaker said today.
The company has started a consultation process with staff members over the plans and depending on the outcome of this, the shop closures are likely to begin before the end of the year.
It plans to apply voluntary redundancies and also redeploy staff where possible.
The figure is lower than the 900 shop closures announced by the bookmaker in January.
At the time, the group said that each store closure could cost up to £60,000 and that operating profits would likely decrease by up to £100million a year.
William Hill currently has approximately 2,300 stores in the UK.
More to follow…
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