Chisholm Bookmakers' directors disappointed in six figure losses

The family-run North East chain blamed expensive media rights costs for the impact on profitability

Chisholm Bookmakers on Briardale Road, Blyth, Northumberland
Chisholm Bookmakers on Briardale Road, Blyth, Northumberland

Directors of Chisholm Bookmakers Limited say they are “disappointed” in the company’s latest set of accounts which show losses of £105,772.

The family-run chain of North East bookmakers blamed the costs of media rights for a swing from profit of £104,773 in 2013 to a loss of £105,772 the year after.

Ashington-headquartered Chisholm, which dates back to the 1950s, said the increased costs associated with showing sports fixtures at its branches were not commercially viable and questioned their long term use.

Chisholm, which operates around 48 shops between Berwick upon Tweed and Scarborough, questioned the viability of running small betting shops in the face of such costs.

Consequently the firm said it will now look for high street shops with greater footfall to cover the overheads.

The firm said: “Over the past seven years the cumulative impact of increases in costs for media rights, dual regulation by the Gambling Commission and LGAs, and increases in taxation via a switch from VAT to machine games duty has considerably increased the risk of operating small community betting shops.

“It is our view that risk associated with this type of unit will continue to increase.”

As turnover increased 9.8% to £42.1m, the firm noted an increase in football betting, relative to traditional betting events such as horseracing and greyhound racing.

Within a strategic report accompanying the accounts, director Howard Chisholm said “inappropriate” changes to betting sector legislation posed a “significant risk” to the company.

Among these factors he noted changes to planning regulation, Government talk of changes to regulations on fixed odds betting machines and an increase in the Horserace Betting Levy to pay for community facilities and treatment of gambling addiction.

The introduction of “Inspired Storm” digital gaming machines throughout Chisholm’s stores was said to have made up some of the drop in income suffered by the firm in 2013.

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