Bookies with two shops in Wisbech has announced it is closing 700 outlets
Bookmaker William Hill, which has two shops in Wisbech, has said it plans to close about 700 betting shops, which could lead to 4,500 job losses.
The firm, which has bookies in North End and Market Place in the town, said the move followed the government's decision in April to reduce the maximum stake on fixed-odds betting terminals to £2.
Since then, the company added, it had seen "a significant fall" in gaming machine revenues.
William Hill, which has 2,300 shops and 12,500 employees, said the closures could begin before the end of the year, however a spokesman for the bookmaker said they would not be releasing a list of those affected until "much later" adding staff are aware of the situation as it affects them.
In a statement the company said:"William Hill has entered into a consultation process with retail colleagues over plans to close around 700 licensed betting offices. This follows the Government’s decision to reduce the maximum stake on B2 gaming products to £2 on April 1 2019.
"Since then the company has seen a significant fall in gaming machine revenues, in line with the guidance given when the Government’s decision was announced in May 2018.
"A large number of redundancies is anticipated with 4,500 colleagues at risk. The Group will look to apply voluntary redundancy and redeployment measures extensively and will be providing support to all colleagues throughout the process.
Fixed odds terminals have been described as the "crack cocaine" of the gambling world. Punters lose nearly £2bn a year playing them, and now the government has announced plans to restrict the maximum stake to £2.
The government cut the maximum stake, which had previously been £100, because of widespread concern that players were able to lose large amounts of money in a short space of time.
They allow players to bet on the outcome of various simulated games and events, such as roulette, blackjack, bingo and horse races.
At the time of the cut, the Association of British Bookmakers warned that the move would lead to job losses in betting shops.
More by this authorSarah Cliss