William Hill Pilots Eco-Friendly Retail Sports Betting Shop in Leeds

Posted on: October 5, 2022, 12:02h. 

Last updated on: October 5, 2022, 12:31h.

Going digital doesn’t necessarily mean having an online-only presence. Sports betting operator William Hill is going digital with its land-based shops, introducing the first all-digital betting experience in England.

William Hill
A couple walks by a William Hill sportsbook in the UK. The company is piloting a new eco-friendly retail betting solution that eliminates all paper and increases responsible gaming awareness. (Image: Getty Images)

Only months after 888 Holdings completed its acquisition of William Hill’s non-US assets, it continues to reshape the sportsbook. Starting with a test in Leeds, 888 wants to determine if it can offer a fully digital land-based betting experience.

The eco-friendly, paperless approach to sports betting might catch some bettors by surprise at first. But 888 is confident it’s covered all bases. Should the Leeds pilot goes well, it could introduce the concept across its entire footprint.

Committed to Going Green

Walking into the shop, bettors will find an array of digital solutions. Among the first that will likely stand out are the new real-time research tables. These allow customers to catch up on the latest betting data and news from Racing Post via the platform’s online edition.

Customers will now see a new layout when they view Racing Post content. The Spotlight Sports Group-owned company, separate from William Hill’s initiative, has introduced a free mobile app that includes new features, including a new odds comparison tool, exclusive content from racing experts, and tips for bettors.

The research tables share a space with a real-time dashboard that allows customers to see if they have overstayed their welcome at the sportsbook. This responsible gaming solution goes hand-in-hand with the “Own Your Game” space, where bettors can talk privately to staff about gambling harms.

There are also cameras placed strategically that allow William Hill to gather information on bettors’ targets in the shop. In addition, the company is testing the use of body cams to enhance security.

Being inside the retail shop doesn’t mean bettors can’t use their online accounts to follow the action and place wagers. In the event someone forgot to charge their cell phone before leaving home, the sportsbook has installed charging stations so they can stay connected.

The redesigned sportsbook opened this past Saturday and it apparently went well. William Hill UK retail director Garry Fenton sees a bright future for the concept, and said in a statement that additional launches are now in the works.

Glasgow Transformation Could be Next

The next shop to undergo a transformation will reportedly be a William Hill shop in Glasgow, though there are some potential complications.

The Glasgow World reports the company will give up its Shawbridge Arcade location in favor of a vacant office about a half-mile away. That option, on Riverford Road, isn’t finding support from the local council.

This is possibly putting six jobs in jeopardy, as William Hill might not be able to find an alternative. If it doesn’t, the shop could close permanently.

The Shawbridge Arcade shop is unsuitable for occupation. Glasgow wants to tear it down and build a residential building. This means William Hill needs a replacement. But according to the council, the city’s zoning and development plan prohibits a relocation to Riverford Road.

William Hill continues to work with the council in order to develop another plan. It’s trying to convince the council to change its mind. But there’s no indication it is making progress.