This is a long-term ambition.
There aren’t short-term answers. But there are things we can put in place quickly to take action. These are our next commitments as we put in place the new strategy.
Immediate business actions
- We will pilot mandatory use of account tools for some of our most at-risk customer groups. Research suggests that 18-21 year olds are the age group that have the greatest difficulty in staying control – so we’ll start by exploring how to increase the use of limit setting and time-out tools by this age group, including looking at making limit-setting mandatory for new customers of that age, wherever it’s possible to do so.
- We want all customers to stay in control and play positively, whether they’re at risk from harm today or not. We know from other industries that putting data in customers’ hands can be a powerful way to help them make more conscious choices. We’re exploring ways to show customers exactly how much they’re staking, winning and losing across all of the gambling they do with us. We want to show them their key trends, with top tips on staying in control – and, crucially, to help them spot any issues as they develop.
- Thirdly, we will step up our training efforts in partnership with responsible gambling experts so that all William Hill people can step in effectively and sensitively with all kinds of customers when they spot possible gambling-related harm. The results of our pilot work with Betknowmore UK were impressive, so we’re going to partner with community organisations so we can make training more effective. And we’ll roll enhanced training out to all parts of our business, not just our customer-facing colleagues, so we all understand the role we can play.
- As we’ve looked at the challenge, we’ve learnt a lot. But we also need to ‘get out there’ to see the challenge for ourselves. That’s why we’re launching an initiative to get colleagues from right across the business out to meet and work with problem gamblers and the organisations that support them. We want to make a positive impact through our efforts, and at the same time get deeper insight into the challenges and the best ways to help. We will bring that understanding back into William Hill to change how we do things.
- We know that our people can bring great energy and imagination to this, and we want them to try new things. So we’re creating a Responsible Gambling Innovation Fund to pilot the best new ideas coming from our colleagues or external partners. It will be supported by a team drawn from across the business to drive our efforts and a fund of £150,000, and we’ll share what we learn.
- And we’ll make it part of our culture and our KPIs. Our performance on sustainability is already part of the executive team’s long-term incentive plans. But as we gain more understanding of the difference we can make, we are committing to include more targeted KPIs for our business.
- We know that we won’t solve it on our own. We’re committed to working with external partners and researchers who have a stake in tackling the harm that can come from gambling. We’ll be holding a first event this autumn to crowdsource new ideas and share what works, with the goal of kick-starting a different type of collaboration towards the ambition that nobody is harmed by gambling.
- We see two crucial issues where we can raise our voice and press for change. The first is account-based play. Knowing who people are as they bet can help ensure that nobody is harmed – because we can identify risky behaviours sooner and intervene more effectively. Yet we know many customers don’t want to create accounts. So we will participate in pilot activity to establish what works. We believe that this is the way the industry is heading and we want to help get there quicker.
- We know that advertising of gambling products can mean that young people come into contact with our industry before they’re ready. There’s more to do to understand the role of advertising in driving out-of-control behaviour. We want to be a collaborative partner in reshaping advertising around live sports. And we’ll start with challenging ourselves to look at all aspects of our own advertising at these times.