William Hill must 'move faster' on problem gambling

19 July 2018

William Hill has launched a new UK-facing responsible gambling initiative after admitting to “falling below” the standards expected by the national regulator, parliament and the general public.

The ‘Nobody Harmed’ campaign has been designed to tackle the issues related to problem gambling and offer help to those who experience this harm.

William Hill said the project will be implemented across both its retail and online businesses as it seeks to enhance public trust in gambling activities.

Speaking to iGamingBusiness.com, Ciaran O’Brien, director of corporate communications at William Hill, said that the bookmaker must “move much faster” to tackle problem gambling and the new Nobody Harmed campaign will form a large part of this effort.

“Quite simply, while we have always taken problem gambling seriously, we have fallen below what’s expected of us by the regulator, parliament and ultimately the public,” O’Brien said.

“We need to move much faster and get much better at addressing the harm caused by problem gambling.”

William Hill has set out four key targets it aims to hit with the new campaign.

The bookmaker will look to support all customers to stay in control through the design and marketing of our products; create new ways to identify people at risk and intervene effectively; strengthen its system of support for those who do experience harm; and empower all William Hill staff to fulfil its shared ambition.

“The ultimate goal of the campaign is that nobody is harmed by gambling, but like any ambition, it will be hard to achieve and we certainly cannot achieve it alone,” O’Brien said.

“The important thing about stating the ambition however is it gives a clear lead to our people that we should seek to do the right thing.”

Confirmation of the new campaign comes as the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said it was examining whether William Hill and Bet365 breached television betting advert guidelines during the recent World Cup football tournament. Companies are barred from making urgent calls to action in commercials. 

In response to this, O’Brien admitted that while a company as big as William Hill “will get things wrong”, the bookmaker is “committed” to working with the ASA on implementing new rules on advertising.

“The new ASA code only came in in April and are subject to some interpretation so it may be that until we have some case history we won’t know what is covered by the code but if we have contravened it we will hold our hands up,” O’Brien said.

“In any big organisation we will get things wrong – the important thing is our intention, our key actions and how we deliver on them and learn out loud on the way through.

“We have also committed to take serious look at advertising and what could be done better – including much stronger restrictions if needs be – as part of this process.”