High street betting shop William Hill has announced that it is permanently closing 119 of its 1500 locations. After being forced to close back in March due to the ongoing pandemic, the firm have decided that business will continue to be affected, forcing its hand.
Though the store closures will affect around 300 jobs, William Hill said that most of the affected staff have been moved to other parts of the business. Though its revenue has fallen, the betting business is repaying the money borrowed to pay furloughed staff, totalling £24.5m.
The gambling industry took a bit of a hit during the initial lockdown months as sports betters had nothing to bet on and bookmakers and casinos were forced to close their doors. As lockdown measures have been lifted, bookies have been able to open their doors again.
It’s not just bookies that have struggled recently, as Buzz Bingo has also had to shut 26 of its bingo halls, affecting over 500 jobs. Despite this, Buzz have started to re-open the remaining 91 halls across the country, with 12 opening their doors to players yesterday.
The return of sports and easing of lockdown has helped the gambling industry bounce back in lockdown, however casinos are still closed across the country. The government had originally planned to allow casinos to reopen on August 1st, however rising COVID-19 numbers forced Boris Johnson to cancel the grand reopening just one day before.