Fringe Box



Two Out Of Three William Hill’s Guildford Betting Shops To Close, Say Staff

Published on: 6 Jul, 2019
Updated on: 11 Jul, 2019

By Hugh Coakley

Two of the three branches in Guildford of William Hill, the national bookmaker chain have been earmarked to close, according to staff. The betting company has announced plans to close about 700 betting shops across the country, which could lead to 4,500 job losses before the end of the year.

The branch in Merrow is thought to be safe but branches in the upper High Street and Park Barn will go. William Hill have been asked to confirm the reports.

William Hill’s branch in the upper High Street in Guildford is said to be earmarked for closure before the end of the year. It could leave four empty shops in a row.

Cllr Tony Rooth, Pilgrims ward Guildford Borough councillor Residents for Guildford and Villages, spoke to staff in the upper High Street branch who also said that the two William Hill shops in Woking were to close as well as the branch in Farnham.

William Hill, which had generated more that half of its retail revenues from fixed odds betting terminals (FOBT), has blamed the closures on “the Government’s decision to reduce the maximum stake on B2 gaming products [also known as FOBT]. Since then the company has seeen a significant fall in gaming machine revenues.”

Bookmakers had predicted shop closures and job loses last May 2018 when the Government had announced the decision to cut the FOBT cap from £100 to £2. But the Culture Secretary at the time, Matt Hancock, called the machines “a very serious social blight” that “needs to be tackled”.

Cllr Tony Rooth

Cllr Rooth said: “This is clearly another blow for local shops in Guildford and more empty shops in the town centre. I wonder what the future is for other chains in Guildford and nationally.”

The BBC has said that William Hill’s decision to close shops is just the start with up to 3,000 of 8,400 betting shops under threat.

There are at least 10 betting shops in the town with two Betfred and one branch of Coral’s in North Street and a William Hill shop in the upper High Street. This branch is next to the row of three empty shop there now. There are others in Stoughton Road, Park Barn, Merrow, the Worplesdon Road and two in Woodbridge Hill.

Many of these branches could be affected


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