Tuesday, October 18, 2011 : Israelis fear that jobs are being moved to Gibraltar
In a Sun newspaper exclusive this morning, reporters claim that major British online and land gambling group William Hill plc has been rocked by a mass walkout by nearly 200 staff at a support centre in Tel Aviv, Israel.
And the company's chief marketing officer in Israel, Eyal Sanoff, has reportedly also quit his post.
The Sun claims that William Hill executives flew out "for peace talks" over the weekend amid fears that Hill's important internet business could suffer.
According to the newspaper, Tel Aviv handles almost all the marketing and customer support functions for the bookmakers' online empire.
The article quotes Israeli staff members as saying that they believe William Hill is about to move the Israeli functions to the UK or Gibraltar.
One staff member told the newspaper: "Everyone's worried. The last two years have been really good. We all bought into the company's thinking, such as hating [rival group] Ladbrokes, but the situation has deteriorated and people are really worried about their jobs.
"All 180 staff walked out on Sunday, which is a working day here, and only 20 came back today."
Jim Mullen, one of the Will Hill execs who flew in to address the crisis, allegedly offered staff members a month's pay if they would break the unofficial strike and report for work.
William Hill's online business is a key part of its business plans, and is on track to generate profits of more than GBP 100 million for the company this year.
The Sun revealed last month that the company plans to start paying punters if other gamblers follow their tips online.
Approached by The Sun, William Hill spokesmen reportedly refused to comment.