Burgers and Bets at William Hill

Burgers and Bets at William Hill

When you pop down to your local William Hill shop, what’s on your mind? Is it who’s going to win the 3.30 at Sedgefield or how tasty their burgers will be?

Accusations of “cynical” tactics have been made after the introduction of a WH Café at one of their shops in the Arndale shopping centre in Manchester. There were probably plenty of United fans tucking into their breakfast, burgers and meal deals on Monday October 25. Losing 5-0 at home to Liverpool does that to you.

Big Al’s Chicken Burger

The food being offered isn’t exactly expensive with some items being cheaper than at McDonalds. For example, you can tuck into a sausage and egg muffin for just £2 or Big Al’s Chicken Burger for £2.50.

The food is available at five of their 1,048 betting shops. If it proves popular, more William Hill bookies in the High Street will see you being able to enjoy some tasty food while working out your bets.

William Hill say that the food has been introduced after customers had made requests asking for them. There’s often been cups of tea and coffee available in betting shops and often they have been supplied free of charge. It takes a while to eat and drink so that keeps you in the shop and you can place more bets.

Keeping customers in the shops is the key argument that critics have been talking about. Matt Zarb- Cousin is the founder of Clean Up Gambling. He’s a recovering gambling addict and said of the introduction of the cheap food: “When the cheapest sausage and egg muffin on the High Street is in William Hill, you start to wonder whether the food is there as a loss leader, in an attempt to generate new customers.”

The bookies may well lose a bit of cash on offering a cheap burger but if the customer loses more cash while eating them, the bookies won’ mind. Of course, you could always make some more winning bets while scoffing your meal.

Gambling Harm Critic

Another critic is Labour MP Carolyn Harris, chair of a cross-party group looking at gambling harm. The MP shares the view that this is just another way of keeping customers in the shop so they can place more bets.

“It looks like a cynical plot to keep customers in the bookies,” said the MP. “Yet another tactic of an industry hell bent on squeezing every pound they can out of customers.”

In response to the criticism, a William Hill spokesperson commented that there had been “positive” feedback so far. The WH Café concept is aimed at “improving our customer experience and not at increasing the amount of time they spend in our shops.”