The betting shop workers’ trade union, Community, has responded to news reports that William Hill is expected to start closing hundreds of betting shops within days of the reduction in stakes on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals in April this year.
Tom Blenkinsop, Operations Director at Community, said:
“In reality it is yet again the workforce and our members who are being hardest hit. Our members provide an excellent service to their employers and the communities they live in. Their wages go back into their local economies and these jobs are an important source of local employment in towns and high streets across the UK.”
William Hill has targeted around 900 shops for closure. Some closures may take place almost immediately after April, with the overall closure programme taking up to two years.
“We will be assisting and representing our members during this difficult period in order to mitigate against the most damaging consequences and to ensure they are treated fairly through the process.
“However, the government and the industry both have a moral and social responsibility towards these workers as both have reaped the benefits from FOBTs in taxation and profits in recent years. It is not too much to ask that workers are given the support they need as a result of this policy change,” said Tom Blenkinsop.
Ladbrokes Coral had previously estimated that it would close around 1,000 shops once the maximum stakes on FOBTs is cut to £2.
“Neither the Government’s new legislation, nor the industry’s response will actually deal with problem gambling. Indeed it has been our members in the betting shops at risk of closure that have monitored and assisted problem gamblers the most. Yet they are now to suffer the worst consequences due to a combination of clumsy legislation and companies chasing profit and market share online.”
Community has been representing members in the betting industry for years, you can join Community by clicking here.