Issuing its Q1 trading update, William Hill revealed it hasn’t seen a reduction in deposits following its implementation of the UKGC regulation, which prohibited credit card betting in the UK.
The credit card ban was enforced on 14 April, with the FTSE betting group outlining that it will be able to gain a greater understanding of its longer-term impact once sports betting is resumed.
Sports activity was heavily impacted by COVID-19, a pandemic that meant William Hill had to act early and undertake heightened safer gambling measures. It detailed that these included a six-fold increase in the volume of responsible gambling messages sent to its customers.
As well as this, where relevant, it has implemented safer gambling ‘guard rails’ to ensure player safety and we will continue to take decisive action to protect our customers.
Having weighed-up COVID-19 scenarios, William Hill governance stated that it would no longer publish future forecasts in relation to ‘limited visibility’ provided on ‘virus developments’.
The bookmaker further confirmed that it has waived its Revolving Credit Facility (RCF) covenants for 2020 – which will see William Hill defer payments on a £200 million bond deferred to 2021/2022.
Ulrik Bengtsson, CEO, offered the following statement: “William Hill has overcome many challenges in its 86-year history, and I am exceptionally proud of the team and their response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We have worked hard to protect them, and in turn they have done the same for our customers.
“We reacted quickly to the cancellation of sports activities and the closure of our retail estate. We took immediate measures to save costs, reduce cash outflow and minimise non-essential expenditure by negotiating with our suppliers, cancelling pay rises and executive bonuses and suspending the dividend.”
In an interview with Payment Expert last month, the firm’s Group Director of AML, Steven Armstrong emphasised: “The global pandemic is adding layers of complexity in regards to operations and managing resources remotely for all of us. I would not say that operators are having to be more stringent, instead it is a matter of refocusing their risk appetite.
“An operator is constantly adapting to the changing landscape and as much as this pandemic is something never seen before in our times, operators adjust, rework and manage their risk accordingly. I am certainly proud to work in an industry that has reacted and refocused in the current difficult times.”