William Hill history

Along with Ladbrokes, William Hill is one of the grandfathers of the betting industry. It was founded by William Hill in 1934.

After dropping out of school and completing stints as both a farm and factory worker, William Hill started offering bets from his motorcycle. He then exploited a legal loophole in the UK ban on betting shops, starting a postal and telephone betting service. This enabled punters to set bets with cheques, weeks in advance of an event.

From the early days, William Hill is said to have earned a reputation for being trustworthy. When interviewed in 1955, he identified integrity as the most important quality of a successful bookkeeper.

Betting shops were finally legalized in the UK in 1961, and William Hill opened his first shop in 1966.

William Hill retired in 1970 and passed away the next year. Since then, his company has changed hands multiple times. Particularly over the past few decades, it has gone from strength to strength, expanding significantly within the UK and globally.

In 1998, William Hill got the jump on its competitors, becoming the first of the large UK bookmakers to launch an online betting site. Today more than 2 million customers around the world have online William Hill accounts and the company offers online gaming, casino and poker, along with sports betting.