Phillip Bowcock: William Hill points towards a ‘new direction’ on problem gambling

Further to presenting William Hill’s new corporate objective ‘Nobody Harmed by Gambling’, Group Chief Executive Phillip Bowcock has penned an open letter to investors and sector stakeholders detailing William Hill’s enhanced initiatives on social responsibility and sector sustainability.

Bowcock outlines that the industry must undertake a new approach in combating gambling harm in order to regain public trust…


“We have not taken seriously enough the challenge of problem gambling. For too long, we’ve talked about individual responsibility and small proportions of adults who experience problems.

Every type of gambling product has the potential to cause harm to our customers. That is something we have to recognise and that harm is something we need to face into.

Around 430,000 people today are classified as problem gamblers. That’s too many, but it’s also just the tip of the iceberg. Research from GambleAware estimates that two million people are at risk today.

Anyone can become at risk of problem gambling, and some people are especially vulnerable because problems with gambling are deeply connected to a whole host of other social factors like substance abuse and mental health conditions. When gambling does go wrong, it doesn’t just damage one person. It also impacts their families, friends and communities.

In the past, we have fallen short on this issue. Public trust in gambling activities has declined over the last five years. Over that same time, we’ve been on a journey to improve the protections we have in place but what’s also true is that we haven’t faced bravely enough into the issues.

We want gambling to be a fun part of people’s spare time, which adds to the excitement of the sports they love. Gambling is meant to be a leisure activity, not a source of human misery. That’s why we must recognise the hidden side of gambling and 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.

It’s our ambition that nobody is harmed by gambling.

Within this section of the website, we explain how we’re setting out on next steps towards that ambition. We’ll be taking action through the products we offer, the protections we have in place for customers and the part we play in making sure people who do experience harm from gambling receive the right help.

Central to getting this right is each and every one of us who works for William Hill. Every day, our 16,000 colleagues across William Hill come to work so that people can enjoy gambling, and many spend time with customers up and down the country. I’m determined that our colleagues understand that their instinct to care for our customers is the right one. When we make decisions for the long-term benefit of our customers, our business will be successful in the long run.”


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