The UK High Street has been hit hard by the COVID-19 lockdowns in 2020 and betting shops have not been spared the pain. Combined with the FOBT stake limit introduced in 2018, the impact on the number of shops has been sizeable.
Between 2018 and 2020, William Hill and Entain have reduced their betting shop estates by a combined total of more than 1,500 shops.
At the end of December 2020, William Hill had just over 1,400 shops. This is a reduction of 39% since the end of 2018.
The UK Gambling Commission reported a total of 7,681 betting shops in the year to March 2020. But this number will have fallen further since that date because it does not reflect the situation after the 2020 lockdown.
For example, William Hill stated:
“Driven by our expectation of a systemic change in our customers’ playing behaviour, 119 shops remained closed following the first UK lockdown.”
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