UK betting company William Hill has revealed more details of its plans for strategic realignment in 2019, as it increasingly focuses on international and digital markets, and the plans include the closure of 900 betting shops in the UK.
In announcing its full year trading statement, the company declared that it had recorded a 15 percent fall in profits, but although there had been a number of challenges during 2018, William Hill also stated that their digital and US departments have produced strong growth.
There had been an indication from Chief Executive Philip Bowcock at last November’s Capital Markets Day that the company was considering ‘tough directives’ to remodel the company, but the confirmation of the shop closures will come as a blow to thousands of William Hill employees.
It has been reported that the closures will be completed within a matter of weeks, before the implementation of the cut in the maximum stake of Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs), which, it has been suggested, will lead to the closure of thousands of betting shops.
The announcement comes soon after the news that the company’s €270 million purchase of the Swedish gambling Group MRG has been approved. The deal is likely to be concluded later this week. At the same time, William Hill has also been making inroads in the US, announcing a number of deals with US operators to take advantage of the growing US sports betting industry.
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