Popular sportsbooks operator William Hill announced that it will not re-open 119 shops closed during the COVID-19 lockdown. The company, which has 1,500 UK outlets, commented that it did not expect customers to return in the numbers seen before the Covid-19 pandemic.
The William Hill Group managed to avoid almost any layoffs as they re-deployed the majority of 300 affected staff to the remaining betting shops. At the moment, the sportsbook employs 12,000 people in 10 countries, of which 7,000 are within the UK.
The operator has experienced a fast recovery after betting shops received a green light to continue with their businesses. In the first six months of 2020, William Hill generated £141M in profits, due to a £200m VAT refund.
“Our trading was strong before Covid-19, we controlled costs effectively during the lockdown and we have recovered well post-lockdown with good performances in our online businesses throughout the first half,” said Ulrik Bengtsson, Chief Executive Officer of William Hill. Bengtsson also added how the company decided to repay the government £24.5M in funds received to support furloughed staff, as their business results so far have been better than expected.