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Ladbrokes Proposes UK Call Centre Closure

20th November 2009 10:26 am GMT

UK bookmaker Ladbrokes plc has announced proposals to close its Aintree call centre, which could affect the company's workforce of 263 people, citing the severe impact of competition from offshore operators that enjoy significant tax advantages.

Ladbrokes said it will be offering redeployment and relocation opportunities to minimise redundancies, and has entered into a three-month period of consultation with employee representatives, including USDAW.

According to the company, Ladbrokes' telephone betting service pays 15% tax on its gross profits and a further 10% on profits from UK horseracing, as well as VAT and corporation tax, while offshore operators typically pay none or very low taxes and no horseracing levy.

Ladbrokes said that UK-based telephone betting operators are being severely impacted by competition from offshore operators that enjoy significant tax advantages.

Last month the company moved its online sportsbook operations to Gibraltar after claiming that that operating from the UK was unsustainable against offshore competitors which held significant cost advantages by operating from low tax jurisdictions.

"We have today begun a three month consultation with our employees on the proposed closure. The proposals include plans to redeploy or relocate employees to minimise redundancies," said Ladbrokes spokesman Ciaran O'Brien.

Telephone betting is a very competitive market and one that is becoming increasingly difficult for UK-based operators who face significantly higher levels of tax than those operating from offshore jurisdictions."

Ladbrokes core telephone business was loss-making at the half-year stage this year, recording a 41% decline in revenues. The company added that its telephone betting service levels would be unaffected by the closure of the Aintree call centre.

Ladbrokes currently has call centre operations in Aintree and at its Head Office in Harrow.

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