Ladbrokes are one of the oldest bookmakers in the world, being able to trace their origins right back to 1886 when horses were trained at Ladbroke Hall. The company are one of Britain’s “big four” bookies and with their huge size and long history comes a great reputation and unquestionable integrity – in other words, this is a company you can trust.
They employ around 16,000 people, had a turnover of just over £1bn in 2012 and operate around 2,700 betting shops across the UK and Europe, whilst retaining head offices in Gibraltar, where they are licensed and regulated. They have almost 1m active clients with 13 tailored websites offering all types of betting (poker, casino, games, financial, bingo and of course sport) in nine different languages.
Sign Up Offers
Bet £5 for £20 in Free Bets
For new UK & Irish customers there's £20 in free bets available when you sign up and place your first real money bet of £5 or more and at odds of 1/2 or greater. Irish customers can claim in Euros if they prefer. To claim you need to register using promo code 20FREE and then place a win or each way bet at odds of 1/2 or more within 14 days.
This is on all UK and Irish races. Take a price, if the SP is bigger, you'll get the bigger price, available on both single and multiple bets.
For greyhounds the offer works exactly the same offer as horse racing, also available on all UK and Irish greyhound races for both single and multiple bets.
18+, T&Cs apply.#ad
A well-known offer which gives you your money back as a free bet if one leg of an accumulator loses. The terms of this offer are that there must be five or more selections on the match winner market up to a maximum £25 free bet.
Each selection must be at odds of at least 1/10, with combined odds for the bet 3/1 or greater as a minumum.
18+, UK & Ireland customers only. Free bet credited within 24 hours, valid for 7 days. T&Cs apply.#ad
The Grid is a customer card from Ladbrokes that allows you to use the same account both online and in shop. This means that you can withdraw your online funds instantly in cash at the nearest Ladbrokes shop. You can also deposit funds in shop to use online much like you can with a mobile phone top up card.
There are a whole range of other benefits to having a Grid card. As well as being able to deposit and withdraw funds you can also use the funds in your account to bet at the counter by presenting your card, or to play the machines by simply logging in with it. These funds can either remain securely in your account or you can withdraw them. You can also track the progress of certain bets placed in shop with the ability to cash out if you wish.
There are also exclusive money back specials and free bets offers available to account holders, plus enhanced guaranteed odds meetings when you bet in shop. You can also earn points as you bet which will earn you entry to prize draws, currently for a trip to Vegas.
How Do You Apply for a Grid Card?
This couldn’t be simpler, if you already have a Ladbrokes account, go to The Grid section of the website (shown in the top right corner) and click ‘Join Now’. Your account card or key fob will then be sent to you. For mobile customers, click on the menu button at the bottom of your screen and The Grid link will be one of your options.
If you don’t yet have a Ladbrokes account you can sign up for one online and then follow The Grid Link in the same way.
Ladbrokes, as one would expect of such a giant firm have plenty of extra offerings on their site. They really are a one-stop shop that can cater to all your needs and with extra specific bonuses in each of their various gaming suites (bingo, financial, poker, games, casino and lotto) there is no excuse not to try them out.
They also have a very nicely developed mobile platform which also allows live steaming of racing and will soon have bingo added. Their customer service is another strong point, with live chat, phone and email options (as well as snail mail for the really old school) all available 24/7. In addition they have a very lengthy and thorough online help section which should answer most queries without the need to contact Ladbrokes at all.
Their odds are in the mid-range on the whole, rarely as good as at the exchanges but certainly a lot better than some of the smaller bookies whose pricing isn’t as efficient and therefore have to allow bigger margins.
However, one area that they are well above average in is the sheer volume of markets and sports they cover, again this comes about as a product of their size. As with most of the UK big boys their main focus is football and racing but they also cover a lot of US sports, TV and political specials and smaller sports like MMA, floorball and even chess! You can’t beat the excitement of a good chess bet!
There’s an array of methods by which you can deposit and withdraw funds by. Of course, you will be able to use all major debit cards. You can also use eWallets in the form of PayPal, Neteller and Skrill and also the cash deposit system – Paysafecard. You can also use a direct bank transfer. Deposits can be made in cash via any Ladbrokes shop using your customer ID. You will be able to withdraw money in the same way with the use of your password. Please note that the first time that you do this you will need to produce photo ID.
Payments can also be made to your account in cash via any Ladbrokes betting shop using their Grid card. As we mention earlier in the review, existing customers can apply for these from The Grid area of the website. New customers can also take advantage once the sign-up process has been completed.
- Minimum Deposit – Depositing by debit card has a minimum of £5, as does Paysafecard. PayPal, Neteller, Skrill and bank transfers have a minimum deposit of £10. If you deposit in-shop the minimum amount is just £1.
- Minimum Withdrawal – Withdrawals to debit cards have a minimum limit of £5, as do cash withdrawals in-shop. All other methods mentioned have a £10 minimum.
- Withdrawal Time – A typical debit card withdrawal will take 3-5 days. PayPal, Neteller and Skrill withdrawals will be processed in 48 hours. Bank transfers will take between 1-5 days.
- Fees – These payments do not incur any charges.
- Bonus Exclusions – Deposits made through Paysafecard, Neteller and Skrill will not be eligible for the welcome bonus.
- Transaction Name – These will appear as Ladbrokes.com
Licence & Contact
- Live Chat – Via website (within Games section)
- Email – Via website
- Telephone – UK: 0800 731 6191, Outside UK: +350 200 43003
- Post – Ladbrokes Customer Support, Imperial House, Imperial Drive, Rayners Lane, Harrow, Middlesex, HA2 7JW, United Kingdom
- Licence Details – UK Gambling Commission 1611
- Company Name – Ladbrokes Betting & Gaming Limited
- Registered Company Address – One Stratford Place, Montfichet Road, London, E20 1EJ
Founded in 1886 by Messrs. Schwind and Pennington, Ladbrokes actually began life as a commission agent for the horses that were trained at Warwickshire’s Ladbroke Hall. When Arthur Bendir joined the agency in 1902, a decision was taken to adopt the name ‘Ladbrokes’ for the partnership and the group moved its operations to London. Initially to be found close to the Strand, a move to Hanover Square was organised in 1906 and then seven years later came another move, this time to the much more desirable location of Old Burlington Street in Mayfair, which helped with their clientele.
Over the years that followed those early stages, Ladbrokes moved from serving members of the aristocracy to becoming one of the biggest bookmakers in the United Kingdom. The history of the company is a colourful one, including the likes of managing racecourses and the purchase of a chain of DIY stores. Over the years, Ladbrokes bought numerous areas of real estate, for example, and the company has been part of several different takeovers, mergers and acquisitions, which has allowed it to grow to become the mammoth betting and gaming empire that it is in the modern era.
The Early Days Of The Company
Having started out as commission agents for horses trained at Ladbroke Hall, from which the company took its name, the move to London after Arthur Bendir joined Ladbrokes allowed them to branch out in terms of what they offered to their customers. In 1913, a decision was taken to offer its services exclusively to the British aristocracy and upper classes. The gentlemen’s clubs around London where were Ladbrokes found most of their customers, who would place bets through Ladbrokes and take advantage of the exclusivity of the services offered.
What was interesting about Ladbrokes during those early years was that the company’s main representative on racecourses around Britain was a woman. Helen Vernet joined Ladbrokes in 1919 and became a partner nine years later, remaining with the firm until shortly before her death. In spite of the company’s position as the main bookmaker for the richest people in London, it was in a state of steady decline in the wake of the end of the Second World War. A part of the reason for said decline was an inability to move with the times and change the way that they operated.
In 1956, Cyril Stein and his uncle Mark bought Ladbrokes for £100,000. When the Betting and Gaming Act legalised betting shops on British high streets five years later, the Steins were well-placed to take advantage. A chain of betting shops were established, as well as a move to take a stake in the Dragonara Palace casino and hotel in Malta. In 1967, Ladbrokes had reached a point where it could be floated on the London Stock Exchange, which allowed for a growth of the betting shops. This meant that by 1973 there were more than 1,000 Ladbrokes shops around the UK.
Growing & Divesting
As Ladbrokes’ growth continued, a decision was taken to also divest the company’s interests. A number of bingo clubs were opened, whilst investments were made into real estate. There was also a move to take over smaller companies, such as when £250,000 and 100,000 shares in Ladbrokes were used to buy a 53-shop chain of betting shops belonging to Terry Rogers. By 1975, it was clear that racecourses were an easy way for betting companies to get involved in property that also gave them a chance to engage in their business practices.
With this in mind, Ladbrokes chose to purchase Lingfield Park, with the likes of Perry Barr Stadium following soon after. Ladbrokes also bought Totalisators and Greyhound Holdings, which owned Brough Park, Crayford & Bexley Heath, Leeds, Gosforth, Willenhall and Monmore greyhound stadiums. It looked as if there was no stopping Ladbrokes as it moved to take over the gambling sector, only for a scandal involving their London casinos which forced their closure.
By 1986, Ladbrokes’ reputation had recovered enough to allow the company to buy Texas Homecare, the DIY chain, as well as spent £645 million buying the Hilton International chain from Allegis Corporation. That not only saw the company become the owners of 91 hotels, but also access to the rights for the Hilton brand outside of the United States of America. Another big purchase took place in 1989 when Ladbrokes moved into the popular football pools market, buying Vernons. These various moves piled debt onto the company, and something had to give.
A New Era
Though the Stein’s had done well to make Ladbrokes into the behemoth of a company that it had become, there was a need to make changes when the debts and losses became too much. Stein retired in the January of 1994, with the company making a choice to instead look to concentrate on hotels and gambling. As a result, Sainsbury’s bought Texas Homecare for £290 million, whilst its real estate was sold of in pieces. There was a return to casinos, with Ladbrokes spending £50 million to but three clubs in London.
In 1998, there was an attempt from Ladbrokes to buy Coral, which was owned by Bass plc at the time. A £363 million deal was agreed, but the Monopolies and Mergers Commission felt that the move was anti-competitive and put a block in place. Within a year, Ladbrokes had instead spent £1.3 billion buying Stakis Hotels, which saw them acquire 53 hotels and 22 casinos. They renamed to become Hilton Group plc, reflecting the new focus on hotels, which was 80% of the business by that point. Disappointing results in the gambling sector meant that Ladbrokes got rid of operations outside of Europe.
Moving Back To Betting
Though Ladbrokes came extremely close to becoming a hotel business first and foremost, it eventually returned to where it had all started. In December 2000, Ladbrokes sold its 27 casinos to Gala Group for £236 million. Five years later and it sold its hotel operations to Hilton Hotels Corporation for £3.5 billion, re-branding to Ladbrokes plc and by March the following year it had also sold the Vernons brand to Sportech. Part of the new-look Ladbrokes involved a move to re-open the brand in Europe, including in Spain.
A number of small takeovers followed, with the likes of Betstar purchased for £12 million in 2014. The following year, the merger with Gala Coral Group was back on the table, creating Britain’s biggest bookmaker. Once the Competitions and Markets Authority had asked it to sell of between 350 and 400 betting shops, the move was given the go-ahead and Ladbrokes became Ladbrokes Coral plc in November of 2016. It resulted in a company of more than 4,000 betting shops, employing over 30,000 people.
Ladbrokes In The Modern Era
In December of 2017, it was confirmed that Ladbrokes Coral was being bought by its rival GVC Holdings. A deal worth up to £4 billion had been agreed, seeing the bookmakers join the owners of Bwin, Sportingbet and the Foxy Bingo brands. It was the latest in a series of takeovers from GVC, which had seen the company grow exponentially in the preceding years. The final amount that the deal cost depended on the outcome of the government’s review of Fixed-Odds Betting Terminals, which eventually dropped the maximum stake playable on them to £2.
By March of 2018, moves had been made to ensure Ladbrokes offered more than just betting. An ‘omnichannel integration strategy’ with Playtech, the software provider, meant that Ladbrokes could offer a single account for all of its products in the United Kingdom. The takeover by GVC Holdings was completed that month, seeing GVC shareholders taking 53.5% of the company and the remaining 46.5% going to Ladbrokes Coral. In September 2020, GVC announced that it was changing its name to become Entain.
One of the main decisions of Ladbrokes in the modern era has been to ensure its name recognition thanks to sponsorships of major sporting events. It was the main sponsor of the Scottish Premier Football League, for example, as well as the Cheltenham Festival. The likes of snooker and darts have also had events sponsored by Ladbrokes, in addition to other sports that are sponsored largely because Ladbrokes offers coverage of them, with the hope of attracting customers to use its services and allow it to make back any money spent.