In March 2020, 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
Although gambling overall fell during the first lockdown, due to an absence of sport and the closure of betting shops, we worked proactively with the BGC and other operators to establish a comprehensive set of pledges, set out below, to ensure that the highest customer safeguards were in place. Action was taken immediately to protect any customers betting online who might be more vulnerable as a result of 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, and taking action to ensure responsible advertising.
Despite the easing of lockdown measures during the summer, William Hill continued to operate in line with the Covid-19 pledges and these were reaffirmed by the BGC in early November as England entered a second lockdown.
All our shops in England, Scotland, Wales and Jersey are now open. Our branches will continue to follow all government guidelines and implement all possible precautions to reduce the risk of COVID-19 in our shops. The safety of our customer and colleagues is always our highest priority.
April 2020’s Grand National was cancelled at the start of lockdown but the virtual race, held on the same day and broadcast live on ITV, was watched by five million people. Stakes were capped at £10 and our profits and that of other operators (members of the BGC) were donated to NHS Charities Together. The 18/1 shot Potters Corner won the race, with BGC members raising £2.9m for NHS Charities Together as a result.
10 pledges to enhance safer gambling action for consumer protection and responsible marketing in response to the crisis: