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Workers for betting giant William Hill face wait over job cuts

PUBLISHED: 17:46 04 July 2019 | UPDATED: 17:46 04 July 2019

William Hill is closing a third of its UK branches. Pic: Archant

William Hill is closing a third of its UK branches. Pic: Archant

Archant

People working for betting giant William Hill face a wait to see if they will lose their jobs as the firm announced it is axing 700 shops nationwide.

There are to be 2,300 shops closed with 12,500 staff made redundant - but it is not yet known how many of the 20 branches in Norfolk and Suffolk will be affected.

There are five shops in Norwich alone with others in Diss. Thetford, King's Lynn and Yarmouth in Norfolk as well as in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, Sudbury, Newmarket, Lowestoft and Leiston in Suffolk. The bookmaker has begun consulting with staff about the losses.

It comes after William Hill saw a £721.9m pre-tax loss in 2018, down from a profit of £146.5m the previous year.

Many in the industry are blaming the cuts on the fact the government passed a law limiting the maximum stake on gaming products to £2 down from £100.

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Tom Blenkinsop, operations director for trade union Community, said: "This is devastating news for thousands of betting shop workers.

"The government also has a role to play and must look at what support they can offer to workers whose jobs are threatened as a consequence of changes to the law around fixed odds betting terminals.

"Workers don't deserve to be the victims of the changes happening in the industry as a result of either government policy or the significant shift towards online gambling."

But supporters of the law claim that increasing the limit on FOBTs stops vulnerable people from spending too much money on gambling machines.

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