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Who Are William Hill?

For many , this is the first name that comes to mind when it comes to betting: In the years before the advent to internet and Internet, William Hill betting shops were widespread on British high Streets and people of a certain age who are still keen to bet online would have almost certainly used one of their shops at some point.

They’re not necessarily the most ancient bookmaker that’s still around but their history stretches back to over 80 years, so how did they begin and how did they become the well-known brand that we have today?

The beginnings of the story: 1934 until 1940’s

The company was founded in 1934 by a man named William Hill himself and in the time before the industry was legalized, the official history states that it was founded for a telephone and postal service, and definitely that was the main area of operation at that time.

William Hill, like many of his contemporaries, got started as a bookmaker at a young age. While working as an apprentice at the BSA motorcycle manufacturing plant at the time of World War I, he would drive around and collect bets on his bike.

After the war was over, Hill began to take his bookmaking work more seriously. Hill set up his bookmaking business at racetracks, but by that point he was some way out of his comfort zone in taking on professional punters and losing tons of money!

Innovation: 1944 to 1960

When William Hill began to get an understanding of his work, he started with a fresh start. Some lucrative trading helped him relocate his offices to London. The company was officially incorporated as William Hill and the real work began.

Hills were at the forefront of some great betting inventions in these beginning days. The company was legally allowed to conduct business because a legal loophole allowed credit and postal betting as long as cash wasn’t involved.

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It was in 1944 that a new concept was introduced. Hill created one of the first fixed odds soccer coupon . In addition, a separate football department of the business was created.

Open: 1961 to 1969 Open From 1961 to 1969

The legalization of betting shops in the UK in May 1961 , and in the following months the act of placing a bet became more open. Even though betting had been thriving despite the rules it was a result of an unnatural explosion that brought new patrons happy to come on board now that the practice was no longer prohibited.

Unexpectedly, when you consider that they were in the forefront of technological advancement for nearly three decades at this point however, it took some time for William Hill to get involved and their first physical location were not established after five years in 1966.

It is reported that Mr. Hill himself – a committed socialist was worried about the distractions betting shops could bring to the everyday person. However, it was around the time when the direct battle with Ladbrokes was losing. William Hill could no longer proclaim itself to be the “World’s Most Large Bookmaker’. It was Hill’s pal Jack Swift who finally persuaded Hill of the potential of this new aspect of the business. The William Hill organisation acquired a significant number of shops in the late 1960’s and the expansion continued with acquisitions of smaller independent companies – ultimately the number reached over 15,000.

1971 to 1999 1991 – 1999

William Hill has, himself been the driving force for the company and has kept pushing forward. He retired as late at 1970, after more than five decades in the industry , before passing in 1973.

From 1971 to the present the business changed hands and was initially acquired in 1971 by Sears Holdings before Grand Metropolitan took over the reins in 1988. After a year, Brent Walker acquired the business and ran William Hill for eight years and the company continued to build its list of betting shops until a change in the way we all place our bets.

From 1999 until today: The Digital Revolution

However, they’re still a traditional bookmaker – one which still has a tangible presence along the UK High Street – William Hill were among the first bookmakers to participate in the internet revolution and set up an online web site.

In 2000 they set up an offshore phone betting service in the wake of the gamblers’ desire to explore alternatives to traditional methods while seeking new ways for placing a bet. This might not seem like something that is particularly exciting in the present day, but actually, phone betting and all other forms of commerce held ‘over the phone’ was considered to be rather revolutionary prior to the turn of the century.

Like all good bookies, the technological aspect has expanded to include mobile gaming and an app, while innovative ideas such as betting in play have also been embraced. The casino site was also introduced and while many people still prefer to visit a physical shop from time to time William Hill’s online operation is among the most efficient and most convenient to use.

The Present Day

When you examine William Hill’s previous report of its declared figures, they’re quite shocking. The 2015 accounts report total revenue at PS1,590.9 million and an operating profit of PS283.3 million, all of which resulted in a total profit that was PS189.9 million. Across the globe they employ 16,000 workers and are clearly one of the largest players in the world of.

William Hill have become involved in a number of sporting sponsorships although they have been relatively quiet in the world of football. A shirt deal with Malaga during 2009 represented a unique attempt at this type of marketing. If you had seen the Scottish Cup Final as recently as the month of May in 2016, you’d have noticed William Hill as the principle sponsor of the trophy.

Horse racing has benefitted from Hill’s sponsorship throughout the years while in the literary world The William Hill Sports Book of the Year is an extremely sought-after prize.

They are a company that is known for its desire to give back to the world of sports and have done a great job out of it over the past 75 years.