William Hill CEO Closes Twitter Account after Debate over FOBTs

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Posted: January 16, 2014

Updated: October 4, 2017

Anti-gambling lobbyist insults William Hill CEO, claiming he’s too old to run the company.

William Hill’s chief executive officer Ralph Topping decided to make his Twitter account private, after online quarrels over fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) went too far.

It all started earlier this year, when Topping got involved in a debate between his company’s public affairs manager Andrew Lyman and Adrian Parkinson of the Campaign for Fairer Gambling, the group lobbying for the regulation of FOBTs under British gambling laws.

The two argued over articles published in local gambling news, which FOBT supporters considered to be exaggerated.

Debates turn to insults

After following the debate for a while, Topping joined the conversation saying that his uncle had died in the Second World War “for freedom”. To this, Parkinson replied that the businessman had lost touch with reality. He suggested that Topping was not aware of what was going on in his own betting shops.

Adding that he’s been with the company for 44 years, in an attempt to demonstrate his experience in gambling, Topping told Parkinson to “debate with facts not insult” and asked him how much he was being paid to trash his business. At this point, Parkinson suggested he was too old to run the company.

Hill spokesperson Kate Miller called the argument “a reasonable debate that is commonplace on social media”, but the exchange resulted in Topping making his account private. Miller claimed this only happened “because he is traveling.”

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