William Hill has announced the company will be closing its online operations in Israel, leaving close to 250 employees without a job. The offices in Tel Aviv’s Azrieli Towers will be shut down as the business consolidates a majority of its operations to Europe.
The news was leaked by LeapRate.com, with inside sources saying representatives of William Hill were meeting individually with Israeli employees to explain the company’s decision. Some employees are expected to be offered the option of relocating to William Hill’s offices in London, Leeds, Gibraltar and Krakow, while a majority of staff members face redundancy.
Employees of the Tel Aviv office work in various fields including technology development, online marketing, gaming, payments and risk and fraud.
A representative for William Hill said, “Our colleagues in Tel Aviv have made an excellent contribution to the success of William Hill Online and we are grateful for their hard work over the years… By locating more of our digital operations in Europe, we will work smarter and more efficiently.
“Importantly, it will mean we can further improve Williamhill.com and be even more responsive to customers particularly in the core UK market.”
William Hill Online has been operating in Israel since 2008, starting out as a joint venture with gaming software giant, Playtech. In exchange for a 30% share of the project, Playtech transferred assets, technology and a large number of employees to William Hill, which resulted in staff walking off the job due to differences in management between William Hill and Playtech. Much drama ensued, and William Hill eventually paid Playtech £424 million to exit the partnership.
William Hill’s decision to shut down its Israel operations is reportedly financially motivated. The combination of rising real estate prices, low unemployment levels and the rising strength of the Shekel against the British pound means doing business in Israel is becoming too expensive.
The online sports betting giant will be opening a new office in central London later this year, merging its Tel Aviv functions with the existing offices in Shoreditch.
The move is part of William Hill’s ongoing Transformation Programme which aims to “to increase efficiencies and deliver £40m of annualised savings to support our higher investment; and a three-year programme to deliver a global technology platform for the whole William Hill Group.”
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