Marion Fellows, a Wishaw Member of Parliament, who was one of the supporters of the reduced £2 maximum stake on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs), has claimed that the UK Government must counterbalance the job losses at a local bookmaker.
Despite that Ms Fellows still backs the gambling limit cap which was imposed on the controversial machines, she said she was disappointed with the fact that William Hill has revealed plans to close up to 700 shops around the country. For the time being, the company has six betting shops in the region – two in Wishaw, two more in Motherwell, and one each in Newarthill and Newmains.
According to reports, around 4,500 jobs at the gambling giant are to be lost across the country. It has blamed the Government’s decision to slash the maximum FOBT stake from £100 to £2. Ms Marion Fellows said she has not stopped to support the stricter regulation imposed on the machines but now claims that the authorities must find a way to balance out the eventual job losses due to the new policy. According to her, potential job losses on such a large scale would be a massive blow to both communities and workers.
This is exactly why she called for the Government to take steps to bring together employers, trade unions and Government agencies to make sure that the transition to the new FOBT rules would be smoother, and to make sure that people who lose their jobs in the gambling sector due to the recent changes would be provided with further employment.
As the Wishaw Member of Parliament has explained, people who work at such betting shops would have to deal with great uncertainty, as they and their families need to feel financially secure. That is why Ms Marion believes that the UK Government needs to make sure that any job losses because of the new policy must be balanced and must include the necessary action to ensure continued employment to workers.
William Hill Announces It Would Have to Close about 700 Betting Shops
Currently, William Hill is one of the largest bookmakers in the UK. The company has over 2,200 betting shops across the country, but it has unveiled intentions to close up to 700 of them due to the stricter regulatory regime which the Government rolled out on the industry.
The gambling giant has also revealed a significant decline in its gaming machine revenues since the reduction of the FOBTs’ maximum stakes. Previously, a spokesman for the company explained that a consultation process with retail colleagues over the plans for around 700 licensed betting shop closures had already started. The decision for the betting store closures has come after the Government’s announcement for the reduction of the maximum stake on so-called B2 gaming products to £2 since April 2nd, 2019.
As explained by the spokesperson of William Hill, a large number of redundancies is anticipated, with the company trying to provide support to all colleagues throughout the transition process.