Betting shops firm William Hill has unveiled plans to close around 700 betting shops across the UK, putting 4,500 jobs at risk, in a major announcement that has local implications.

The company’s announcement on Thursday (July 4th) came as staff at the two local shops at Victoria Street in Burnham-On-Sea and Market Street in Highbridge face a nervous wait.

Burnham-On-Sea.com approached William Hill for confirmation on whether the two local shops are at threat, but spokesman Rupert Adams said: “We are currently not sharing the list of shops that are at risk.”

The firm 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.

“The group will look to apply voluntary redundancy and redeployment measures extensively and will be providing support to all colleagues throughout the process,” its statement said.

Burnham-On-Sea’s William Hill branch has a competitor, Bet Fred in College Street, while the Highbridge shop has no rivals in the town.

William Hill will not be publicly revealing which stores will close until later this year.

Pictured: Top, the Burnham store of William Hill and, above, the Highbridge shop.