William Hill has reported a 57% year-on-year revenue decline for the seven weeks to April 28. Sport cancellations and the closure of retail operations in the UK and the US caused the sharp decrease. The firm closed all of its betting shops in Britain, and it has also been forced to close land-based sportsbooks across America as authorities battle to control the coronavirus. William Hill said online betting revenues were down 20% during the seven-week period as a result of most sports being cancelled. It is now planning a staged reopening of its 2,000 British betting shops in the second half of 2020. “We remain focused on player safety employing ever more customer protection,” said chief executive Ulrik Bengtsson. “We are taking care of our teams, securing as many employment opportunities as possible and we are ready to power up the business as soon as Covid-19 restrictions permit.” The firm added that it is encouraged by the return of football, which accounts for half of its online sports betting business in the UK, after the Bundesliga resumed this weekend.
The Betting and Gaming Council has unveiled a £10 million independent programme designed to educate British youngsters about the risks associated with gambling. The BGC plans to ensure that everyone aged 11 to 19 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland receives at least one session of gambling awareness education as part of their secondary or further education. The programme will also train 100,000 teachers, youth workers, mental health practitioners and police officers. “Educating our young people is vital if we are to ensure that they are better informed and fully aware of the potential risks,” said BGC chief executive Michael Dugher. “It’s also essential that those who are teaching them are fully trained and able to look out for the tell-tale signs of any gambling-related harm and how to access help if required.” BGC members include Bet365, William Hill, GVC and Flutter Entertainment.
Ladbrokes owner GVC will give customers the ability to set stake limits and curfews when playing online slots during the coronavirus lockdown. Online casino gaming has grown in popularity this year as bettors are stuck at home without much sport to entertain them. The industry has been under pressure to protect players during this time, and the UK Gambling Commission published guidance on safeguarding customers this week. GVC, which also owns Coral, backed the guidance and said it would adopt the measures laid out by the UKGC. “Providing a robust safety net for those who may experience harm is particularly important during this unprecedented time of uncertainty and social restrictions,” said chief executive Kenneth Alexander. “That is why we continue to enhance our tools to track problematic play so that we can proactively interact with any player if we see changes that suggest they are having problems.”
The Unibet Home Tour darts competition has been extended after it proved popular with sports fans during the lockdown. The 32 current groups will conclude on Monday, May 18, and the group winners will now go through to a second phase, starting on Tuesday, May 26. Action will then take place across 11 further nights before a champion is crowned on June 5. A total of 101 PDC Tour Card Holders will have competed in the Unibet Home Tour, and Rob Cross, Glen Durrant, Nathan Aspinall and Dave Chisnall are among the famous players to win their groups.
The Bundesliga returned to action on Saturday and there were big wins for Borussia Dortmund and Borussia Monchengladbach. Dortmund picked up an emphatic 4-0 victory over rivals Schalke, while Gladbach beat Eintracht Frankfurt on the road. It leaves both teams within touching distance of league leaders Bayern Munich, who take on Union Berlin this afternoon. Betway is marking the occasion by giving away a £5 free bet to any customers that place a £5 BetYourWay wager on the game, with minimum odds of 2/1 (3.00).