LADBROKES is to close up to 1,000 shops this year in a move that could put up to 5,000 jobs at risk.
The bookmaker, which is part of the Ladbrokes Coral group, currently has 3,475 stores.
Alamy Ladbrokes is to close 1,000 betting shops this year
But it says changes to gambling laws that take force today will see it lose out on cash.
From today (April 1), the amount of money punters can place on fixed-odds betting terminals – electric machines with the likes of roulette, blackjack, and bingo – has fallen from £100 to £2.
The rules are designed to minimise the risk of people losing large amounts of cash in a short space of time.
But Ladbrokes says this will have a big impact on its business. It told The Sun: “As announced during a recent trading update we expect up to 1,000 shops to become loss-making as a result of the decision to reduce maximum stakes on fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs) to £2 from today, Monday April 1 2019.
“Closures at this level would place up to 5,000 jobs at risk over the next 18 to 24 months.”
Ladbrokes already shut down 95 branches last year.
GET HELP TO CONTROL YOUR GAMBLINGGAMBLING addiction can be harmful to your psychological and physical health. Here’s how to get help:
What is “self exclusion”? If you think you are spending too much time or money gambling in an arcade, betting shop, bingo venue or casino then ask staff for more information about self-exclusion schemes. Read more on how to self exclude.
Consider calling the National Gambling Helpline who can offer you free, confidential advice and counselling. According to charity BeGambleAware, self-exclusion can be helpful but will be more effective if you also give the helpline a call first.
If you’re concerned about keeping your gambling under control, sticking to some simple rules. Setting a money or time limit can help make the hard decisions for you when the time comes to walk away.
Only gamble what you can afford to lose – gamble within your weekly entertainment budget, not with your phone bill or rent money.
Documents reportedly seen by The Guardian over the weekend reveal that 71 of these Ladbrokes branch closures will range from Ayrshire to Essex – although it didn’t publish the full list.
The Guardian adds that Ladbrokes is deciding which staff to make redundant partly based on how they direct customers to alternative forms of gambling, such as slot machines and online betting.
Ladbrokes hasn’t confirmed either of these statements to The Sun.
But Ladbrokes isn’t the only bookie struggling. A spokesperson for trade body the Association of British Bookmakers (ABB) said: “There will be a significant impact on the number of shops and people employed in our industry as a result of the stake cut.”
William Hill announced in January that it may have to close up to 900 stores over the next two years, in a move that could affect 4,500 jobs.
Alamy New gambling rules take force today that cuts maximum fixed-odds bets from £100 to £2
It has approximately 2,300 stores in the UK, so the maximum closures represent almost half (40 per cent) of its shops.
Meanwhile, the ABB says it expects half of all independent bookmakers to close as well, while it says the third largest betting firm, Betfred, is to close 500 branches.
Jeremy Wright, secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport, said: “Reducing the potential loss per spin from £100 to £2 is a significant step forward in protecting vulnerable people.
“The Government’s actions and ambitions stretch much further and we are looking at further treatment of those who have suffered from gambling-related harm, whether gambling on credit should be limited and considering what actions are necessary to tackle problem gambling online.”
The Safer Online Gambling Group also echoes the Government’s calls to crack down on online gambling next.
The Group’s co-founder, Adam Bradford, said: “We are effectively closing the door on gambling addiction on the high street, but quickly transferring the addiction to online betting.
“We need to take action now, in collaboration with the industry, to improve safeguarding measures, provide adequate support and treatment and crackdown on pervasive advertising.”
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Ladbrokes staff have been caught posting pictures mocking customers in a secret Facebook group.
Meanwhile, one raging Ladbrokes punter smashes up the betting shop after losing his £10 winning slip.
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