We want gambling to be a fun part of people’s spare time, not a source of human misery. That’s why we must get much better at helping our customers stay safe, in shops and online, in the UK and around the world. Society expects it, our customers need it and a sustainable future for William Hill depends on it.
We are committed to conducting our operations in a manner that is consistent with the three licensing objectives set by the UK Gambling Commission:
- protecting children and other vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited by gambling;
- ensuring that gambling is conducted in a fair and open way; and
- preventing gambling from being a source of crime or disorder, being associated with crime or disorder, or being used to support crime
Protecting the vulnerable
Think 21 / Age verification online
In the UK, it is our responsibility to ensure that no one under the age of 18 is gambling with us. We share the growing concerns about gambling among children very seriously and want to play our role in discouraging this. In shops, our colleagues ‘Think 21’ when asking young customers to identify their age and Online has rigorous age verification checks.
To maintain our high standards in this, shop colleagues receive regular training and the teams’ effectiveness in requesting ID is assessed using independent testers. Currently, colleagues succeed 85% of the time and we want to keep improving that record as much as possible.
Set your own limits
We know that when a customer sets time and spend limits for themselves before gambling, it helps them stay in control. That’s why we’re investigating strategies to encourage wider uptake of this tool.
Updated player protection algorithms
Player protection algorithms allow us to use technology to spot customers who may be getting in to difficulty with their gambling. Through innovations in technology and better use of data we can identify customers showing signs of harmful play across online and machines, and intervene before it’s too late.
The Time Out option enables online customers to freeze their William Hill account for between one day and 6 weeks. This feature helps customers take a short break from gambling, if they intend to return to playing in the future. Time Outs are available to customers with online accounts through the My Info tab, followed by Responsible Gambling.
For customers who are experiencing harm from their gambling, self-exclusion is an option to help them take back control. You can request to be refused service and prevented from gambling for a period of between 6 months to 5 years. To make these self-exclusions most effective, we are committed to both the online and shop multi operator self-exclusion initiatives. This means that if you choose to self-exclude, to get away from gambling for a minimum of six months, you will ban yourself from all the major UK providers – not just one.
Responsible Gambling is organised each year by GambleAware to promote responsible gambling across the Industry Group. We will be running the week again in 2018, with key messages focused on letting customers know where to get help and support, and the tools available in shop to help stay in control.
Fair and open gambling
Encouraging sports betting integrity
Integrity in sport is as vital to the betting industry as it is to the sports themselves. In the UK we have a statutory responsibility to report any suspicious betting activity to the Gambling Commission. We are also a member the European Sport Security Association (ESSA) which seeks to identify and prevent unfair manipulation of sporting events by sharing information on unusual betting patterns from across Europe. Read more about this here
Transparent promotions for customers
Making sure that our promotional offers are clear and easy to understand, with customers able to make informed decisions, is of the utmost importance to us. William Hill has actively engaged with the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) enquiry into unfair terms and conditions, which involved a number of operators. The enquiry was a success and its outcomes will be applied to the whole gambling industry.
We want to provide customers with the means to have their say, to listen if they feel that they have been mistreated and take action as a result. Complaints can be made via Customer Services. Where complaints are not resolved to the customer’s satisfaction in the first instance, matters can be referred to the Independent Betting Adjudication Service (IBAS).
As a cash-based environment, betting shops have historically been a target of crime. Over the last decade, we have materially reduced the level of crime associated with William Hill betting shops by investing in strong security systems, focused on protecting the safety of our colleagues and customers. These include StaffSafe, a security safety monitoring system that supports colleagues in dealing with anti-social behaviour, provides protection for colleagues during periods of lone working and offers immediate response in the event of a serious incident. We also have ‘safe havens’ in 95% of shops and CCTV installed in every LBO.
- Our Security team’s efforts have been recognised three times in national security industry awards, the latest of these being Security Team of the Year at the Outstanding Security Performance Awards in February 2017.
We have a Money Laundering Reporting Officer in place to coordinate our initiatives in this area. Money laundering is defined as the method by which criminals attempt to legitimise monies derived from the proceeds of crime. As a regulated company we have in place certain controls to prevent the business from being used for money laundering. Examples of these include:
- Assessing the risk of the business being used by criminals to launder money; and
- Monitoring customers’ activity and reporting anything suspicious to the National Crime Agency (NCA).
We are part of the industry’s Gambling Anti-Money Laundering Group, which has successfully delivered an industry standard risk assessment, highlighting the risk of each product with the aim of promoting a better understanding of associated threats and risks. In January 2018, the industry group implemented an industry standard for operator thresholds. This achieves an industry standard for Know Your Customer (KYC) checks.
A Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) is submitted either when we have knowledge of or suspicion that a money laundering offence has taken place or under our legal obligation to report potential criminal spend under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.
In 2017 we submitted 686 SARs to either the National Crime Agency or the Gibraltar Financial Intelligence Unit (2016: 614). We received 366 law enforcement or financial institution enquires that required investigation (2016: 435). By submitting a SAR to the NCA, we provide law enforcement agencies with valuable information of potential criminal activity.