Retail is the largest William Hill division, generating 56% of Group net revenue in 2018 and employing around 12,500 people in the UK
William Hill is the UK’s number one provider of licensed betting offices (LBOs), with c2,300 of the c8,500 shops licensed by the Gambling Commission, although this will reduce following the implementation of the £2 stake limit on gaming machines. This was introduced On April 1 2019 and our estimates are that up to 900 shops could become at risk of closure.
LBOs were first legalised in 1961 when the Government recognised that significant levels of gambling were happening outside race tracks and elected to tax, regulate and control the industry through licensing. Over the years, gradual regulatory change has permitted LBOs to broadcast sports events, to open for longer and to provide a more welcoming shop environment.
In our shops, you’ll find a wide array of betting opportunities, from football to horse and greyhound racing, virtual racing and numbers betting. Today, every major event comes with betting odds attached, from royal weddings to Royal Ascot, General Elections and reality TV. You can bet over-the-counter with a betting slip or a football coupon, or electronically through the self-service betting terminals. For gaming, you can play electronic roulette, blackjack, slots or an array of other casino-style games on our gaming machines.
Throughout our shops, we encourage responsible gambling, with a range of tools to help customers gamble safely, from setting time and spend limits on gaming machines to information on support services to self-exclusion systems.
Read more about Retail with an introduction from Cyril Bekoe, District Operations Manager.
Growing UK market share
We believe that LBO customers are looking for an entertaining and engaging experience, ranking convenience as their main reason to bet in LBOs per se and location and customer service as the key reasons for choosing a particular LBO. We have focused on the quality of our customer service, our product range – particularly in football – and technology innovations to bring customers an attractive and differentiated offering.
The William Hill experience
In an industry where there are so many competitors offering similar products both over-the-counter and on gaming machines, William Hill differentiates itself by having the best people in customer-facing roles.
The face of William Hill is brought to life by our many outstanding colleagues in our shops. Our people are always ready to help our customers and provide an experience that is not just enjoyable, but amazing.
Our teams benefit from a unique training structure which allows them to become experts in our products. This sets us apart even further from the industry competitors, as no matter what issues arise, our colleagues can be relied upon to provide a solution to earning us the only thing money cannot buy on the high street…trust.
Match all of the above with the fact that our average colleagues’ length of service is 15 years and you know we have great strength in providing customer service and product knowledge. We also feature extremely contemporary designs and technology in our shops, ensuring that our product offering on the high street is second to none.
Our customers can enjoy watching their racing on banks of HD television screens in a majority of our estate, with clearly displayed markets and pricing that prioritises upcoming races and events.
In our estate, almost 400 shops have seen the introduction of the video wall, enhancing the viewing experience to a whole new level through innovation. The video wall offers our customers the ability to watch their favourite sports in cinematic size images and quality, with featured events ranging from horse and greyhound races to virtual and football. The William Hill TV team makes the customer experience even more exhilarating, with cutting edge commentary, focusing on best value promotions on the high street and an overview of market movers on all our products.
Our customers also have the added advantage of seeing televised and sometimes live footage of our world famous pundits. Robbie Savage and A.P. McCoy lead the way to present expert opinions to our customers on football and horse racing.
We provide a further option for our customers to take control of any question they might have with our Price Finder screens. This is a key feature in all of our LBOs, allowing our customers an opportunity to review prices for all major sports and also to check results at the push of a button.
When you walk into a William Hill shop, you can expect to be welcomed on entry with a wave, smile or a friendly hello. There will always be someone on hand to tell you about the shop and to help with any queries, issues or simply how to write out a bet. We also offer a one-stop-shop for our customers in regards to our Self Service Betting Terminals. These stand-alone machines offer our customer the opportunity to bet on sports of all kind from any part of the world, providing an online experience in the shops with outstanding markets especially on worldwide football.
Last but not least are our Inspired gaming machines that feature the best technology on the high street. Allowing our customers to play their favourite games on a machine with four screens. These feature HD touch screens and a smart player panel screen, and are enabled to promote hints and tips on responsible gambling and to provide limit-setting technology.
Why Shops Matter
There are 12,500 answers and reasons for why Retail is so important. Retail provides employment to 12,500 colleagues, real people with families, friends and hopes, and I am proud to be one of them.
I have been able to enjoy the benefits and rewards of being a part of the Retail team for 15 years, which would not have been possible without our 2,372 plus betting shops. It is HOME for a great many people, an opportunity to make their dreams and hopes come true. It allows a great many people to handle the real life of saving for the arrival of their first baby, buying their first home, first car, pay for mortgages, rent, holidays, health issues, personal study programmes, school items, Christmas gifts, etc.
We employ people of all ages and a significant number of colleagues between the ages of 18 and 25 years, plus more than 50% of our Retail workforce roles are occupied by women. We have a diverse and multi-cultural workforce who enjoy an atmosphere that encourages and cherishes people from varying backgrounds and cultures. Moving from Ghana to the UK many moons ago, I can genuinely say that I have found my HOME at William Hill.
When it comes to our customers, we provide a safe, modern and engaging community in which they like to spend their leisure time. For many people our shops are a place to meet friends, both customers and employees.
Our shops are a place where people know your first name and celebrate your birthdays, a place where your opinion counts, a place to share the challenges and success of daily life with a cup of tea or coffee in hand.
We are over 80 years old and we are an integral part of Britain’s high streets and communities. We provide a bedrock for employment in all the locations in which we have a presence, as we recruit locally and many community initiates, including working with local councils and supporting local charity events and programmes.