Customer protection and COVID-19

We took several protective measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We care about our customers and colleagues and continually monitor the situation to ensure that they stay safe.

In the UK

Retail

Our branches will continue to follow all government guidelines and implement any necessary precautions to reduce the risk of COVID-19 in our shops.

Online

The exceptional circumstances of a UK national lockdown meant live sport was cancelled, and concerns were expressed that customers would turn to online gaming products.

We worked proactively with the BGC and other operators to establish a comprehensive set of pledges to ensure that the highest customer safeguards were in place.

Always keeping our eyes on the customer, we took immediate action to protect those betting online and who might be more vulnerable during the crisis.

This included:

  • Actively promoting deposit limits.
  • Increasing safer-gambling messaging (over 3.5m player safety messages were sent between April and June 2020).
  • Restricting and blocking accounts where necessary.
  • Taking action to ensure responsible advertising.

Since then, we’ve continued to operate in line with the COVID-19 pledges despite the ending of lockdown measures.

COVID-19 Betting and Gaming Council 10-Pledge Action Plan

10 pledges to enhance safer gambling action for consumer protection and responsible marketing in response to the crisis:

  1. Increase safer gambling messages across all sites and direct to all customers with a minimum of 20% Safer Gambling (SG) advertising.
  2. Step up interventions if customers increase time and spend beyond normal pre-crisis patterns.
  3. Actively promote deposit limits.
  4. Take action to ensure appropriate and responsible advertising.
  5. Report all illegal, rogue advertising from black market online operators.
  6. Implement a one-strike-and-you’re-out policy where affiliates breach pledges.
  7. Sign-post help to GamCare and the National Gambling Helpline, and GAMSTOP for self-exclusion.
  8. Commit to ensuring funding for research, prevention, and treatment (RPT).
  9. Provide additional welfare checks and well-being help for staff.
  10. Support the UK Government’s ‘national effort’ with volunteers and facilities.

Internationally

We continue to monitor any changes in international territories relating to COVID-19.

An aligned Code of Conduct was established in 2020 by the European Gambling and Betting Association (EGBA) members to enhance consumer and minor protection through the promotion of responsible advertising measures for online gambling. William Hill was one of five leading operators to support this initiative.

The Code reflects the industry’s responsibility for ensuring that gambling is a safe and responsible entertainment pastime. We adhere to the Code in all EU and EEA countries and the UK. The Code covers all gambling marketing activities on all media platforms including, television, radio, social networks, and other online platforms.

Alongside collaborating to introduce this Code of Conduct and implementing regulatory changes, we have launched a programme of work to improve safer gambling measures and raise standards, including how we identify and interact with our customers.

Whilst recognising that every market is different from a regulatory perspective, we aim to comply as consistently as possible. We care about our customers, and we continuously work to have a strong safety net for all consumers in every market we operate in.