Bookmakers Join Rush to Vacate the High Street

By Gary Cutlack on at

High street gambling outfit William Hill is about to leave numerous boarded-up blue holes across the UK's high streets, as it prepares to close as many as 700 of its unkempt man creches.

It's hard to feel particularly sorry for the business, as bosses are blaming its current malaise on the introduction of limits on the amount of money punters are able to blow on fixed-odds betting terminals. The company warned that it could lose as much as £100m in annual income because of the drastic reductions made to the digital gambling machines' stake limits, with perhaps as many as 900 of its branches at risk over the longer term.

700 branches are sure to close in this first wave of cuts, though, with as many as 4,500 jobs on the line. Bosses say that "voluntary redundancy and redeployment" could take an edge off the losses. [BBC]