Meet Dan who heads up Responsible Gambling for Retail

Dan Whitlam, our new Head of Responsible Gambling for Retail tells us his story. Find out about what his role involves and find out more about his passion to help educate and protect our vulnerable customers.

Tell us a bit about you
I’m from Norwich originally (and a big Norwich City fan) and went to York University to study maths and finance. I have a wonderful wife of 10 years, Becky, and two amazing boys Alex (5) and Samuel (3). I’ve been working in the Gambling industry for around 15 years, and have become more of a punter as online and mobile have become more prevelant. I enjoy having an occasional bet on football and horses, and while I enjoy roulette and blackjack I get most enjoyment from playing poker, which I started to play with mates while at university. My biggest win was £2.5k in a Stars tournament a few years ago and I’ve also played at the WSOP tables in Vegas which was a great experience. Aside from my family, my other passion is cycling – whether it be riding, racing commuting or spectating. I’m fortunately now back in the saddle after a nasty cycling accident in 2017 and throughout that time I struggled with elements of my mental health. Because of that experience, I’m now a big advocate of positive mental health and wellbeing, particularly good diet, excersise and sleep. In my last role at SkyBet I was part of the wellbeing workstream and am a qualified mental health first aider. My experience helps me with my focus on responsible gambling and protecting our vulnerable customers.

Tell us a bit about your career to date
Back when I was a student I worked as a shop cashier at Ladbrokes for three years and quickly grew to love working in a betting shop, especially on match days! I already followed most sports, and loved having banter with the customers, and came to enjoy translating and manually settling the trickier bets. Once I finished university I moved to London and joined the accountancy firm Deloitte. I found my specialism in auditing gambling companies, which I found fascinating and it also enabled me to travel the UK and internationally. After a few years, I joined a small online casino and poker company as its Head of Finance. Soon after that we decided to emigrate to the North so I took the opportunity to move to Leeds to join William Hill and its Group Risk and Audit team. I was lucky enough to spent the next 3.5 years travelling the world, auditing the higher risk areas of WH, which at the time were the digital business and the newly acquired companies in the US and Australia. It was after we had my son Alex in 2014 (and the travelling took it’s toll) that I moved to SkyBet as its Head of Fraud & Risk, and was also part of its Responsible Gambling initiatives. I’ve found I have a real passion for responsible gambling and have seen the industry really step up in driving awareness and opportunities for businesses to improve and self-regulate and I am excited to be part of that here at William Hill.

Tell us a bit about your new role
I’m really excited to be able to work in a role focused entirely on Responsible Gambling. These types of roles just didn’t exist 18 months ago and it really shows the importance William Hill places on supporting and advocating responsible gambling. A primary focus of my role will be operationalising our ‘Nobody Harmed’ ambition Retail and clearly communicating to shop colleagues and customers what we mean by Nobody Harmed and Responsible Gambling and why it’s so important. We’ll look at how we can support customers at risk of gambling related harm, while still offering that great William Hill experience. There are a lot of people involved in shaping and delivering our approach, supported greatly by Nicola Frampton and her team. We will work closely with teams from across the company to deliver on this, including compliance, product and marketing, gaming, and learning and development to name a few. One of my first priorities is to offer gambling support for colleagues, and you will see more about that very soon. There is a lot to do and I’m up for the challenge in making William Hill an even more responsible gambling company.

Tell us what you’re most excited about joining WH 
I’m in a fortunate position to be able to return to William Hill after 5 years, so I’m most excited to be back working with some amazing colleagues and familiar faces. A lot has changed in that time and I’ve been particularly impressed about how prepared we are for the post triennial world coming up in April. Across Retail, there is a great feeling of team spirit and togetherness and that has been great to experience. I really look forward to driving the responsible gambling strategy forward and delivering some valuable initiatives into retail to support shop staff and better protect vulnerable customers.

Most interesting fact about you?
In 2012 I actually won the WH Head Office Cheltenham tipster competition bagging £800.  It was a pure fluke to be honest romping home on Gold Cup day with 25/1 and 33/1 winners!

You can follow Dan here on his Retail Yammer page