William Hill shops hit by tax hike

Prestwich and Whitefield Guide: More than 100 William Hill betting shops are to close after a surprise increase in gaming machine tax in the Budget More than 100 William Hill betting shops are to close after a surprise increase in gaming machine tax in the Budget

Bookmaker William Hill has said it will close more than 100 shops this year due to the impact of the Chancellor's surprise hike in gaming machine duty.

The chain, which has 2,434 sites in the UK, warned that around 420 jobs are at risk from the closure plan, which affects 109 of its worst-performing outlets.

William Hill said the duty hike from 2 0% to 25% made it unlikely that the shops, most of which are loss-making, can be successfully turned around.

The company has already warned that George Osborne's Budget increase in the tax on fixed odds betting terminals will cost it around £ 22 million a year.

Shares in William Hill and Ladbrokes have fallen sharply in the wake of last month's tax raid, which the industry called "knee-jerk and ill-considered".

In a trading statement today, William Hill chief executive Ralph Topping described the shop closures as particularly disappointing.

He added: "T hrough the economic downturn, we have worked hard to grow our retail base but this further planned increase in indirect taxation makes this action necessary."

William Hill saw revenues from fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBT) rise by a fifth in 2013 as it grew the number it had to 9,400 over the year.

But there have been increasing calls for the use of the machines to be banned or limited.

Community, the union for betting shop workers, said it planned talks with William Hill over the closures.

Assistant general secretary John Park said: " The Chancellor's decision to make such a hike in FOBT duty was always going to affect the viability of betting shops on the margins of profitability.

"This has proved to be the case at William Hill and we would not be surprised to hear similar announcements from other operators in the near future.

"The Treasury's move on FOBTs demonstrated a lack of joined-up thinking by the Government, given it was taken while a review of FOBTs is ongoing."

In today's trading update, the company said major wins for punters during two weeks of the football calendar contributed to a 25% fall in the retail estate's operating profits in the first quarter.

This came despite a 3% rise in the amount staked at its shops after a 20% surge in football betting and a 4% increase in the number of racing fixtures.

Gaming machine revenues were 5% higher but the punter-friendly football results meant underlying turnover in the division fell 4%.

In online, which accounts for around a third of the group's business, underlying revenues were 4% higher, helped by a 39% jump in sportsbook wagers.

Mr Topping added that the company was very well-placed to take advantage of this summer's World Cup, with an "unrivalled football product range".

Investec analyst James Hollins retained a buy stance on the shares, saying: "We do not expect the shop closures to make a big change to earnings."

Comments (11)

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2:36pm Fri 25 Apr 14

jimmysmith says...

excellent news this lets hope it doesnt stop there and even more follow
excellent news this lets hope it doesnt stop there and even more follow jimmysmith
  • Score: 0

2:48pm Fri 25 Apr 14

locky1667 says...

Knob head. People out of work you eejit
Knob head. People out of work you eejit locky1667
  • Score: 1

3:05pm Fri 25 Apr 14

Joshiman says...

Good news for our High Streets.Can the other bookmakers follow William Hill please.
Good news for our High Streets.Can the other bookmakers follow William Hill please. Joshiman
  • Score: 3

3:13pm Fri 25 Apr 14

iamthebinman says...

locky1667 wrote:
Knob head. People out of work you eejit
Maybe they can get another job that doesn't involve people feeding their lives into machines designed to attract vulnerable young people whom are getting into huge amount of debt.

Lives are being ruined by this industry in a far worst way than being made redundant from a low paid job.
[quote][p][bold]locky1667[/bold] wrote: Knob head. People out of work you eejit[/p][/quote]Maybe they can get another job that doesn't involve people feeding their lives into machines designed to attract vulnerable young people whom are getting into huge amount of debt. Lives are being ruined by this industry in a far worst way than being made redundant from a low paid job. iamthebinman
  • Score: 3

3:40pm Fri 25 Apr 14

cosmick says...

iamthebinman wrote:
locky1667 wrote:
Knob head. People out of work you eejit
Maybe they can get another job that doesn't involve people feeding their lives into machines designed to attract vulnerable young people whom are getting into huge amount of debt.

Lives are being ruined by this industry in a far worst way than being made redundant from a low paid job.
So we shut all the amusment arcades shall we?
[quote][p][bold]iamthebinman[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]locky1667[/bold] wrote: Knob head. People out of work you eejit[/p][/quote]Maybe they can get another job that doesn't involve people feeding their lives into machines designed to attract vulnerable young people whom are getting into huge amount of debt. Lives are being ruined by this industry in a far worst way than being made redundant from a low paid job.[/p][/quote]So we shut all the amusment arcades shall we? cosmick
  • Score: 0

5:57pm Fri 25 Apr 14

jimmysmith says...

locky1667 wrote:
Knob head. People out of work you eejit
theres only one knobhead and thats you . especially with the crap you just posted .you should do some research on gambling and the effect it has on family life especially children you clown
[quote][p][bold]locky1667[/bold] wrote: Knob head. People out of work you eejit[/p][/quote]theres only one knobhead and thats you . especially with the crap you just posted .you should do some research on gambling and the effect it has on family life especially children you clown jimmysmith
  • Score: 3

6:19pm Fri 25 Apr 14

bhafc.m says...

iamthebinman wrote:
locky1667 wrote:
Knob head. People out of work you eejit
Maybe they can get another job that doesn't involve people feeding their lives into machines designed to attract vulnerable young people whom are getting into huge amount of debt.

Lives are being ruined by this industry in a far worst way than being made redundant from a low paid job.
No bookmakers hold guns to there heads. People make there choice of going in there and putting there money in machine. If these william hills shut down. The people losing there money will only go to corals across the roads. If people cant afford to lose the money dont gamble simple.
[quote][p][bold]iamthebinman[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]locky1667[/bold] wrote: Knob head. People out of work you eejit[/p][/quote]Maybe they can get another job that doesn't involve people feeding their lives into machines designed to attract vulnerable young people whom are getting into huge amount of debt. Lives are being ruined by this industry in a far worst way than being made redundant from a low paid job.[/p][/quote]No bookmakers hold guns to there heads. People make there choice of going in there and putting there money in machine. If these william hills shut down. The people losing there money will only go to corals across the roads. If people cant afford to lose the money dont gamble simple. bhafc.m
  • Score: 4

7:29pm Fri 25 Apr 14

KSO16R says...

bhafc.m wrote:
iamthebinman wrote:
locky1667 wrote:
Knob head. People out of work you eejit
Maybe they can get another job that doesn't involve people feeding their lives into machines designed to attract vulnerable young people whom are getting into huge amount of debt.

Lives are being ruined by this industry in a far worst way than being made redundant from a low paid job.
No bookmakers hold guns to there heads. People make there choice of going in there and putting there money in machine. If these william hills shut down. The people losing there money will only go to corals across the roads. If people cant afford to lose the money dont gamble simple.
Research a little more about the subject before you start spouting off about people's choice and gambling.
[quote][p][bold]bhafc.m[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]iamthebinman[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]locky1667[/bold] wrote: Knob head. People out of work you eejit[/p][/quote]Maybe they can get another job that doesn't involve people feeding their lives into machines designed to attract vulnerable young people whom are getting into huge amount of debt. Lives are being ruined by this industry in a far worst way than being made redundant from a low paid job.[/p][/quote]No bookmakers hold guns to there heads. People make there choice of going in there and putting there money in machine. If these william hills shut down. The people losing there money will only go to corals across the roads. If people cant afford to lose the money dont gamble simple.[/p][/quote]Research a little more about the subject before you start spouting off about people's choice and gambling. KSO16R
  • Score: 3

10:27pm Fri 25 Apr 14

Nebs says...

They don't want you to win.
They don't want you to win. Nebs
  • Score: 5

3:28am Sat 26 Apr 14

mimseycal says...

@ KSO16R 7:29pm Fri 25 Apr 14

To gamble or not to gamble ... it has ever been a question of personal choice. People who elect to gamble their incomes rather then feed their children or pay their bills ... and then it becomes a disease. Like alcoholics and drug addicts and any number of other conditions ...

Having said that, a hike from 2% to 25% is heinous and intentionally punative! and anyone who thinks it was done to protect those gamblers and their families from the consequences of their compulsive behaviour have another thought coming. We are more likely to see an increase in illegal gambling as gambling shops close.
@ KSO16R 7:29pm Fri 25 Apr 14 To gamble or not to gamble ... it has ever been a question of personal choice. People who elect to gamble their incomes rather then feed their children or pay their bills ... and then it becomes a disease. Like alcoholics and drug addicts and any number of other conditions ... Having said that, a hike from 2% to 25% is heinous and intentionally punative! and anyone who thinks it was done to protect those gamblers and their families from the consequences of their compulsive behaviour have another thought coming. We are more likely to see an increase in illegal gambling as gambling shops close. mimseycal
  • Score: 0

9:13am Sat 26 Apr 14

locky1667 says...

jimmysmith wrote:
locky1667 wrote:
Knob head. People out of work you eejit
theres only one knobhead and thats you . especially with the crap you just posted .you should do some research on gambling and the effect it has on family life especially children you clown
I gamble regularly but I dint have a problem with it. Should we close any establishment that may cause people to form a habit? Do you know some people cant help shopping and just spend all their money(and some that isn't theirs ) so if that's the rule lets close all the shops . Eh
[quote][p][bold]jimmysmith[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]locky1667[/bold] wrote: Knob head. People out of work you eejit[/p][/quote]theres only one knobhead and thats you . especially with the crap you just posted .you should do some research on gambling and the effect it has on family life especially children you clown[/p][/quote]I gamble regularly but I dint have a problem with it. Should we close any establishment that may cause people to form a habit? Do you know some people cant help shopping and just spend all their money(and some that isn't theirs ) so if that's the rule lets close all the shops . Eh locky1667
  • Score: -1
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