Оnline gaming giant William Hill plc will be shutting its operation in Israel. More than 200 of the company’s approximately 250 Tel Aviv based employees will be laid off, and the company’s offices at the Azrieli Towers will be vacated.
A small number of William Hill Israel key employees will be offered relocation to head office in the UK or elsewhere in Europe.
Sources at the company were quoted as saying that representatives of William Hill had begun meeting individually with Tel Aviv based employees, explaining the company’s decision to consolidate the online portion of its business, which is what the Israel operation dealt mostly with.
Israel is a major center in the online gaming world as well as in areas such as online marketing and software development which are essential to the industry. However the strong Shekel, combined with rising real estate prices and low unemployment levels, has made Israel a much more expensive place in which to do business. Israeli technology companies have also been actively outsourcing to lower cost locations such as India and Eastern Europe.
William Hill began operating in Israel in 2008, when it created William Hill Online as a joint venture with Teddy Sagi’s Playtech PLC. Playtech transferred assets and technology into William Hill Online, including a large number of Israel-based employees, in return for a 30% interest in the venture. William Hill bought out Playtech’s holding in the JV in 2013 for £424 million.