Ladbrokes owner GVC is planning to shift 200 jobs offshore, despite a rise in revenues as growth in online bets cushioned the impact of new curbs on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs).
Revenues rose by 5% in the first six months of the year, including the three months immediately after the government slashed maximum stakes on FOBTs from £100 to £2.
A 10% fall in revenue from its high-street bookmaking brands, Ladbrokes, Gala and Coral, was more than offset by an 18% surge in its online operation, which includes Sportingbet and Bwin.
But despite the overall increase in revenues, a spokesperson for the Isle of Man-based company confirmed that staff in its Barking customer service centre have been told their roles could move to Gibraltar and Manila in the Philippines. The call centre is expected to close by the end of the year.
“Following the acquisition of Ladbrokes Coral last year, GVC has conducted an extensive review of its operations to ensure the business can best meet the needs of its customers while adapting to the changing regulatory circumstances in which it operates,” the company said in a statement.
“As a result of this review, we have regrettably come to the conclusion that it may be necessary to close our customer service operations in Barking.
“We regret the impact this will have on our valued workforce and where possible we will seek to find alternative roles for those affected within our wider business.”
The plan comes on top of an expected 900 high street shop closures in GVC’s Ladbrokes Coral business, affecting up to 5,000 staff, which the company has blamed on FOBT curbs.
Major bookmakers including William Hill and Betfred have also warned of shop closures and job losses, with about a quarter of Britain’s high street shops thought to be at risk.
A more detailed breakdown of GVC figures offered some insight into the financial impact of the changes.
High street revenue for the first six months of the year, only half of which was affected by the stake cut, was down 10%.
Taken on its own, the first three months of the new FOBT regime saw a steeper 19% decline in overall revenue.
However, there was an 8% increase in income from sports betting, indicating some gamblers have abandoned machine play in favour of more traditional sporting wagers.