For many this is the first name that comes to mind when it comes to betting: In the days before the arrival to the Internet, William Hill betting shops were prevalent across British high Streets and those of a certain age who are still keen to bet on the internet would most likely used one of their shops at some time.
They’re not the only bookmaker that’s still around but their history stretches back to over 80 years, so how did this all begin? And what made them the renowned brand we have today?
Beginnings: 1934 through 1940’s
The company was started in 1934 by a man named William Hill himself and in those days before the business was fully legalised and the official history of the company states that it was set up as a phone and postal service only and certainly that would have been the primary area of operation at that time.
William Hill, like many of his contemporaries, started out in bookmaking at a young age and while working as an apprentice in the BSA motorcycle factory during World War I, he drove around collecting bets on his bike.
When the war ended, Hill began to take his bookmaking business more seriously. Hill set up his bookmaking business at race tracks, but at that point , he seemed way out of his comfort zone taking on professional gamblers and losing a lot of money!
Innovation from 1944 to 1960
While William Hill began to get an idea of his business, he began with a fresh start. Some successful trading allowed him to move offices to London. The company was officially incorporated as William Hill and then the actual work started.
Hills were in the forefront of incredible betting innovations during these early days. was officially permitted trading because of a lawful loophole allowed to bet on postal and credit cards as in the absence of cash.
In 1944, a brand-new product was launched as Hill made one of the first fixed odds soccer coupon . Also, a separate football department of the business was created.
In the Open Between 1961 and 1969
Betting establishments were legalized in the UK in May 1961 , and by this stage, the practise of placing bets became more accessible. While betting had still thrived in spite of the regulations and regulations, this led to an unnatural explosion that brought an influx of new customers happy to come on board since betting was no longer illegal.
Surprisingly, seeing as they had been in the forefront of technological advancement for nearly three decades at the time and it took just a short time to William Hill to get involved and their first premises did not appear just five years later in 1966.
There is a rumor that Mr. Hill himself – a dedicated socialist, was worried about the distractions betting shops would bring to the average person. However, it was at this time that the direct conflict with Ladbrokes was going to be lost. William Hill could no longer proclaim itself to be the “World’s Most Large Bookmaker’ and it Hill’s close friend Jack Swift who finally persuaded Hill of the potential that lay ahead in this new part of the company. The William Hill organisation acquired a significant number of shops in the latter half of the 1960’s, and the growth continued through acquisitions of smaller independent companies – ultimately reaching a peak of over 15,000.
Visit this website for William Hill closing times.
1971 – 1999 1971 – 1999: Changes
William Hill has, himself, been the driving force of the company, and has continues to push forward the company’s goals. He retired in 1970, after having worked for more than five decades in the industry , before passing in 1973.
From 1971 the company was sold to different owners after being initially purchased by Sears Holdings before Grand Metropolitan took over the reins in 1988. In the year following, Brent Walker acquired the business and ran William Hill for eight years and the company continued to expand its list of betting shops until a major change in the way we put our bets.
From 1999 to the present: The Digital Revolution
Though they’re an old-fashioned bookmaker which still has a physical presence on the UK High Street – William Hill were among the first bookmakers to participate in the digital revolution and set up an online web site.
Before that, in 2000 they introduced an offshore phone betting service as the gambling community started to look beyond the traditional methods while seeking new ways to place a bet. This might not seem like something that is particularly exciting in the present day, but in fact, telephone betting or any other business conducted over the phone was considered extremely revolutionary at the time of the century.
Like other good bookies the technological aspect has expanded to include mobile betting as well as an app while new ideas like betting on games have also been accepted. The casino site was launched and although many of us still like to shop in a physical store occasionally, William Hill’s internet operation is among the fastest and most user-friendly.
The Present Day
When you review William Hill’s previous list of publicly announced figures, they are quite staggering. In 2015’s financial statements, the company had total revenues at PS1,590.9 million and operating profit of PS283.3 million, all of which led to an overall profit at PS189.9 million. All over the world they employ more than 16,000 employees and are clearly one of the major players in our sector.
William Hill have become involved in several sporting sponsorships even though they’ve not been very active in the field of football. A shirt sponsorship that they signed with Malaga in 2009 was an unusual venture into the realm of advertising. If you had seen the Scottish Cup Final as recently as May 2016, you would have noted William Hill as the principle sponsor of the trophy.
Horse racing has profited from Hill’s sponsorship over the years as well as in the literary world, it is the William Hill Sports Book of the Year is a highly sought after prize.
They are a firm that is known for its desire to give back to the sport world after as they have made a success out of it for over 75 years.