Two Salford-based William Hill stores closed their doors for the final time last week, as part of the company’s major closure programme.
The sudden closures across the UK come after the governments decision back in April to reduce stakes of Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) to £2. The bookmakers blame the decision for lost income.
The closures of the two shops, one based in the shopping area of Pendleton and in other in Langworthy, means only two William Hill stores in Salford remain.
The closures of the two shops within the area mean a loss of up to 20 jobs with potentially more to come. William Hill plan on closing up to another 500 outlets by this time next year, which could result in another 3,500 job losses.
A worker at William Hill, who wished to remain anonymous, says all shop workers now worry for their futures.
“When I first started, this place on a Saturday would be hell on Earth with everyone trying to place bets for the footie and the horses, we would make bucket loads.”
“The presence of online, and the convenience of it, has meant sport betting has gone away from the shops.
“Previously the slots covered for it but now they are going, it doesn’t look great.”
Martin Beadle has been a regular punter at both the Bolton Road and Langworthy bookies and believes betting shops are slowly dying out.
Martin said: “Since the reduced stakes came in, these places are just dead. They don’t feel the same anymore, you come in and no ones here, nothing’s going on.
“The betting shop will be a thing of the past in the very near future, they’re dying away. It’s all online now anyways.”
The closures of shops across the country mean there now less than ever, with under 20 remaining in Salford.
A William Hill study in March suggested that the government’s decision would mean a reduction in betting shop income of around £100 million.
The closure of the two stores has meant an estimated 20 members of staff losing there jobs and the future of the two remaining stores in the area remains unclear, however, the company have pledged to help all staff that are affected.
A William Hill statement said: “We will be providing support to all colleagues throughout the process.”