Gambling Opponents Scrutinize William Hill’s Cheap Food Offerings

London-based gambling company William Hill is under fire by gambling opponents for its decision to sell food in some of its stores. The idea is pretty new and is being tested in 5 out of 1,048 retail locations, The Guardian reported.

Gambling Opponents Slam the Food Offering

According to those opposed to the gaming industry, the decision to sell food is a cunning tactic to attract and retain customers. The anti-gambling activists pointed out that the prices in William Hill’s locations are surprisingly cheap, making it seem like a foul trick to gain bettors. The bookmaker’s food offerings typically include burgers and breakfasts that are oftentimes cheaper than the cheapest food chains.

Matt Zarb-Cousin, a former gambling addict, now founder of Clean Up Gambling, believes these breakfasts to be a “loss leader” – a marketing strategy that involves selling one item at a loss to incentivize customers to buy other, more expensive, items as well.

The Labor MP, Carolyn Harris, is a prominent critic of the gambling industry. According to her, the cheap food is nothing more than “a cynical plot to keep customers in the bookies”. Harris slammed the betting industry for being “hellbent on squeezing every pound” out of their customers.

William Hill Explains This Was a Response to Customers’ Demand

William Hill defended its business move and denied wrongdoing. The bookmaker explained that this is a new idea that is currently tested in 5 out of the operator’s 1,048 land-based sites. The company added that offering food isn’t a part of some conspiracy to keep punters hooked but rather a response to numerous customer requests.

Furthermore, William Hill confirmed that it isn’t planning to have all its shops sell food. According to a spokesperson, this is merely a limited offer for sites where there has been a strong customer demand. The representative also mentioned that all the five shops offering food are doing so in full accordance with the local law:

“The five shops are licensed to provide betting services and are registered with the relevant authorities to sell food and non-alcoholic beverages.”

William Hill statement

William Hill definitely isn’t the first bookmaker to offer food and beverages to its customers. Therefore, it is likely that the disgruntlement was stirred by the cheap prices offered to customers. However, the fact that William Hill claims to not intend to expand this offering to other shops may relieve some of the anti-gambling activists’ grievances for a while.

William Hill has been expanding its business on other fronts. The bookmaker recently signed a mutually beneficial content deal with Relax Gaming. The deal will improve the variety of WH’s content and will gain Relax access to the UK market.

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