William Hill shut Tel Aviv office, shift operations to Europe


william-hill-shut-tel-aviv-officeUK-licensed bookmaker William Hill is shutting its Israel office and consolidating most of its online operations at its Shoreditch facility in London.

On Monday, Leaprate broke the news that Hills planned to vacate its office at the Azrieli Towers in Tel Aviv and was holding individual meetings with the roughly 250 workers employed at the facility. Some of the local workers will be offered relocation to Hills’ European offices but the closure is expected to result in over 200 redundancies.

Hills reportedly found that the increasing disparity in the value of the English pound and the Israeli shekel meant that the Tel Aviv salaries and office rent no longer made economic sense. The primarily online marketing functions of the Tel Aviv operation will be shifted to Hills’ other offices in London, Leeds, Gibraltar and Krakow, Poland.

Hills’ online operations have had a presence in Israel since 2008 but the experience hasn’t always been smooth sailing. In 2011, Hills endured the so-called ‘Israeli insurrection,’ which saw the mass walkout of its Tel Aviv staff due to differences in opinion between Hills’ management and Israeli technology firm Playtech, which at the time was Hills’ joint venture partner in William Hill Online. Hills eventually paid £425m to get Playtech to walk away from the joint venture.

In other Hills news, the company’s Australian division has teamed up with lottery betting operator Lottoland. The B2B deal will see Lottoland Solutions’ turnkey B2B service allow Hills customers to bet on lottery results via the Williamhill.com.au site.

Hills’ corporate development chief Oliver Scott said his company was “thrilled to make this innovative and exciting new offering available to our punters.” Lottoland Solutions’ Michael Bogie said the Hills tie-up was further evidence of his company’s commitment to the Australian market.

Lottoland launched its Australian operations in January 2016 and the company claims to have already captured around 1% of the country’s $2b lottery market, which hasn’t endeared the company to local newsagents who view Lottoland as an unwelcome competitor. Lottoland has since taken a 7% stake in the online lottery operations of local operator Jumbo Interactive. Lottoland announced its first B2B deal with Europe’s Kindred Group earlier this month.