Please note this is the historical investor centre. William Hill is no longer listed on the London Stock Exchange. It has been acquired by Caesars Entertainment Inc.

The Board reviews and challenges the assessment of the principal risks facing the Company, including those that would threaten its business model, future performance, solvency or liquidity. The Group Executive is charged with managing risk and undertake these duties through regular reviews of business unit risk registers. This is done by monitoring key risk indicators, formally considering risk as part of the investment approval process, review of key business changes and a thorough discussion with the Board as part of Group strategy days.

We set out below the key risks facing the business, as approved by the Board, as well as commentary summarising how we mitigate these risks. This list is not exhaustive but encompasses the Board and management’s assessment of those risks which require our considered response at this time.

 

Risk category

Management and mitigation examples

Net risk movement

REGULATORY, POLITICAL AND LEGAL

 
Risks in this area relate to changes to regulation, such as the Gambling Act Review in the UK, the impact of a potential introduction of UK affordability measures, a maximum stake level on UK online slot games, changes to the legal and regulatory environments in our International markets, and also changes to policy leading to the regulation of some of our other markets, as seen recently in Germany. 

Our global expansion plans, and the opening up of newly licensed markets both in new US states and elsewhere, continue to add complexity to our regulatory and compliance position, such that we need to remain vigilant to ensure we continue to monitor and manage our regulatory and legal obligations effectively to mitigate against compliance issues.

Our Director of Corporate Affairs is tasked with working with the UK Betting and Gaming Council and interacting with the UK Government in order to support a data and evidence-led approach to the UK Gambling Act review which is underway. We use specialists to support our approach with regulators and governments and to enhance our evidence-gathering processes. 

We have safer gambling teams within the first line of defence, and compliance teams throughout the business supported by the Group Compliance Director. We have a continuous controls monitoring model in place across the UK and International businesses, which has strengthened the monitoring, testing and reporting of key compliance activities to senior management.

There is oversight of compliance activities by our Chief Risk Officer (CRO) function and continual strengthening of our compliance teams within each of the divisions to mitigate against compliance failures and any associated customer and reputational impact that may lead to regulatory sanctions and/or customer claims and could be a threat to one or more of our licences. Local CEOs/MDs have direct accountability for managing legal and regulatory risks under our Three Lines of Defence model. Additionally, there are Compliance Committees and a Regulatory Impacts Group in place to provide senior management challenge and oversight.

As described above, we take appropriate action in order to mitigate our external risks and to continually improve the controls over our internal risks. The legal and regulatory landscape continues to develop as we drive growth in our existing markets, as we develop new regulated and unregulated markets and encounter changes in policy, approach to regulatory sanctions and customer claims activity. To manage any impact from these developments we consult with internal and external legal advice as appropriate. Given the amount of change in this area, we have assessed the overall regulatory, legal and compliance risk as increasing.

 

Increasing risk

Tax Changes

 
Following the pandemic, there is a risk that governments in our key markets will look to increase taxes and gaming duties in order to rebalance their spending plans.

We have dedicated tax experts within the business, supported by our legal teams and external specialists where appropriate. We hold regular meetings with government representatives in all of our regulated markets, engage actively in the monitoring of emerging government policy, and continually work to ensure we maintain our compliant position. 

Our continued expansion into new states in the US and into new markets in the rest of the world increases the complexity of our tax requirements. Our assessment of the overall risk trend is increasing in comparison with prior years.

 

Increasing risk

Operational

 
Group and local management across our global business must ensure that appropriate policies, procedures and controls are in place to manage operations on a day-to-day basis, and to maintain effective oversight so that mitigating actions can be taken on a timely basis.

Specific focus has been placed upon additional information security and colleague well-being risks resulting from increased and prolonged working from home during the pandemic. 

The Caesars transaction has introduced some uncertainty for our colleagues across the business, which management are addressing to ensure we retain key employees, and continue to attract new quality recruits to support the delivery of our strategy throughout 2021.

The availability and stability of our technology is key to maintaining and supporting the improvement in our customer service and operational activity. As such we have embedded within our overall technology strategy a roadmap to further reduce technical debt where it exists and reduce our reliance on some suppliers so that we have greater control over our technology to support development and growth and to improve stability.

Across the Group, we continually invest in improvements to our information security control environment. This includes improved patching processes to mitigate security vulnerabilities, a programme of migrating technology to the Cloud using Amazon Web Services, thereby strengthening our protection from external threats, and a project to mitigate any remaining weaknesses in identity and access management on existing systems to prevent misuse/fraud.

In order to ensure we are able to attract, develop and retain key colleagues we have embedded succession planning throughout the business. Additionally, we have talent programmes to support and develop the next generation of management and specialists. The Caesars acquisition introduces an element of uncertainty for our colleagues across the business which could impact our retention activities. This risk is being actively managed by regular communication and discussion with employees. We have agreed with Caesars to protect colleague terms and conditions until 2022 and other retention actions are being taken to mitigate this risk. Our most recent colleague survey has shown historic high scores from our colleagues regarding attitudes towards the business, which supports the actions taken to date.

As a result of the pandemic our working practices have had to adapt. This has resulted in significant numbers of colleagues having to work from home for prolonged periods. As such our HR teams have been proactively cascading our colleague well-being strategy to support and train employees in how to manage their day-to-day performance in this situation and to ensure that their mental and physical well-being is protected. Information security risks around home working have been identified and controls further strengthened to mitigate this risk. This is being kept under continual review by Information Security.

We have in place proactive actions to manage operational risks, and continual monitoring by management to ensure corrective actions are undertaken and completed. However, our overall assessment is that the level of operational risk is increasing relative to the prior year, with the increase mainly as a result of managing colleague uncertainty until the Caesars transaction is completed.

 

Increasing risk

 

Net risk movement key

Neutral

Stable

Increasing risk

Increasing risk

Decreasing risk

Decreasing risk