Earlier this week, gambling giant William Hill announced that, because of profit falls, the company will go ahead with the permanent closure of 119 betting shops in the UK, as a result of COVID-19.
Store Betting Will Not Recover
The online casino operator, William Hill runs more than 1,500 shops around the United Kingdom and has stated that, while it isn’t clear how many jobs will be involved, the majority of staff will be redeployed within the estate.
Despite the closures, the group said it was inspired by progress seen recently since betting stores could reopen. Just as an example, the company will repay £24.5m of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme monies, or furlough funds, due to increased operations.
William Hill Have Decided to Repay the Furlough Funds
Group CEO of William Hill plc. Ulrik Bengtsson said: "I am delighted with William Hill's performance in these extraordinary times. The furlough scheme provided welcome and timely support, and meant we could protect the jobs of our 7,000 UK retail colleagues. Therefore, given the strength of our recovery post-lockdown, we have decided to repay the furlough funds."
"We controlled costs effectively during lockdown and we have recovered well post-lockdown with good performances."
“Our trading was strong before Covid-19, we controlled costs effectively during lockdown and we have recovered well post-lockdown with good performances in our online businesses throughout the first half,” Bengtsson added.
Bengtsson concluded that William Hill remains confident working on their growth agenda, as they benefit from their market-leading position in sports betting in the US.
Furthermore, William Hill’s exclusive media partnership with CBS Sports is now live, bringing cost-efficient customer acquisition and access to fantasy sports in the US. Eldorado’s completed acquisition of Caesars has also brought the betting operator’s US market share of sports wagering up to 29%, with positive online performance leading to international digital growth of 17%.