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William Hill Move to Gibraltar a Blow to United Kingdom

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
Jul/26/2010
William Hill

 

The United Kingdom’s second largest bookmaker, William Hill, is moving its telephone wagering to Gibraltar, citing high taxes on the mainland.  The move was well forecast in recent weeks.

400 jobs in Great Britain were expected to be lost as a result. 

Chief executive Ralph Topping warned that his business has been forced to compete with overseas online wagering operations and the popular European betting exchange Betfair.

"We've campaigned long and hard on the issue of being allowed to grow our business," he said. "Do we have to close shops before others accept that our UK business is under unfair pressure? As a UK plc operating in a global context and responsible for some 16,000 employees, we do not have the luxury of waiting for years to see how fiscal and regulatory policy develops in our sector."

This past week the company noted a 33 percent fall in net telephone revenue over the last year.

"The board has previously noted the challenge of competing with UK betting exchanges and Irish offshore telebetting operators, all of whom have benefited from significant tax and cost advantages over UK bookmakers. The situation is under active review,” a company statement read.

That said, the online business witnessed "online net revenue growth of approximately 24% and operating profit approximately 43% higher than in the prior year".

Not all the William Hill betting shops are moving offshore, but many still might.

Topping warned that the company currently has 170 unprofitable shops, 50 of which will have their future under review before the end of the year, and 200  more jobs could be at risk.

Alistair Prescott, Gambling911.com 

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