Skip to content

The Ladbrokes Story

  • by

Ladbrokes are one of the best-known companies within the gambling industry. They’ve been around since 1896, making them one of the oldest operating companies.

They are now an integral part of the Ladbrokes Coral Group However, they still operate under the name they originally had, Ladbrokes. When it comes to high-street stores, they are still capable of hosting over 3500 units . This is pretty impressive considering that only 9,000 are total in the UK.

High Street Betting Shops

Ladbrokes is a firm that is most definitely bucking the trend with regards to betting on high-streets. The market is shrinking, in particular to that of betting on mobile and online, but Ladbrokes are one of the few brands that have been able to keep their heads above the water and even flourish, to a certain degree at the very least.

As we’ve already mentioned, they currently have over 3,500 shops across the UK as well as they employ over 25,000 people which makes them the largest betting employer in the industry. However, the merger between Ladbrokes and Coral has led to the company having to close 359 shops to satisfy that requirement of the Competition and Markets Authority who exist to ensure that the company doesn’t hold a control over the industry.

It was reported that the deal of selling the stores was estimated to be worth more than £55million, with 322 stores going in the direction of Betfred while the other 37 moving to that of online bookmaker Stan James. While these numbers may appear huge, one would think that a reduction of 10% on their percentage of high street shops in the deal with Coral was a small amount, of which we will talk more about later in this article.

However, the transaction is bittersweet for Ladbrokes because it will result in the sale of their stores to one of their largest rivals on the high streets, Betfred. The addition of 322 stores to Betfred will mean that they now have nearly 1,700 stores in total throughout the UK.

On the Internet

The online business at Ladbrokes is expanding as is the case for the majority of bookshops that we’ve covered. The site has seen a lot of modifications over the last couple of years and whilst they’ve been considered to be one of the best bookies but the new design has helped them become one of the top.

The layout of the website now works much better with mobile and online platforms, which is something that could have argued was severely lacking in the past. The thing we liked about this design was that it was quite unique to the Ladbrokes brand, and was even distinct from the one of Coral which created two distinct betting opportunities.

Ladbrokes is also creative in developing innovative products like cash out, football coupons, live streaming, live betting statistics, betting data , and a huge range of offers and promotions that are available to current and new customers.

The Grid

The Grid is probably the most reliable connection we’ve ever seen between betting online and the betting you can find in your high-street store. It’s quite fitting that Ladbrokes are the brains behind it, especially considering their situation within the industry as the top players in high-street betting.

The Grid lets you simply link your account online to bets that you have placed in store. After you’ve signed up to join the Grid, you can utilize your phone or key fob to record bets that you’ve placed in the store using the app. It is also possible to scan your bet slips to keep them on your phone and see them just as you would when you were betting online.

The Grid links up features such as streaming live, football stats Form, Predictors, bet finders, and shop locators, all in one. It’s worth noting that when you file a claim against your account in The Grid you are going to be in with a chance to win a number of cashback and prizes. Additionally, you will accrue points each time you place a bet in a shop and earn 1 point for each £4 placed at the counter or 1 points for each £10 placed on gaming machines.

About Ladbrokes

The Ladbrokes Coral Group was founded in 2016

Ladbrokes was founded in 1886 by Mr. Schwind along with Pennington. They formed some of the largest and productive partnerships in the history of betting by simply collaborating to back as well as train horses for race. They were based in Ladbroke, England, which is a town of a mere 2 miles out of Warwickshire. It was six years earlier when they asked for the help to Arthur Bendir, who was also the first to create the name Ladbrokes.

The coalition of Bendir was perhaps the most pivotal point during the history of Ladbrokes because he altered both Schwind and Pennington’s goal of backing horses. They switched to wagering against them effectively setting roots to become bookmakers.

Original Business Model

The trio started focusing on wealthy businessmen, who were usually members in exclusive club. This not only allowed them to bet on the money, but it also kept the law of their backs as back then gambling was not legal, except from if you were associated to said clubs.

As they gained recognition, they had to expandtheir reach, and they began by adding an additional member to the group and this time, as Helen Vernet in 1918. This was an extremely radical move for the group as in the era of betting and bookmaking business wasn’t an appropriate place for women to be, so to see an individual with so many power was unusual. In spite of her popularity, she was able to spend many years as a part of the group. She later became the spokesperson for Ladbrokes and was often regarded as a pioneer for women to get into this male-dominated business.

Reign of Stein Reign of Stein

Through the war, the company admittedly struggled to really kick on from the bright start. It wasn’t really to do with their Ladbrokes brand, but rather what the industry did for many companies. The business was eventually sold in 1956 following the death Vernet. Vernet in 1956 to Mark Stein for the sum of £100,000.

The first thing Stein started to do was to move away from wealthy and upper-classed and to broaden the audience that Ladbrokes attracted. They had been able to relax and observe how other companies, like William Hill were operating in the past, allowing anyone who could afford to wager to do so. Stein decided that in order to attract the middle class, he had to find areas in which they could have access to them as well as dog racing tracks being his top priority.

Visit our site for the latest Ladbrokes opening times.

Stein reduced the minimum wagers in dog tracks that could get exposure. In the process, the number of people who came to place bets on Ladbrokes significantly. When betting in high street shops was legalised, Ladbrokes now had a huge following and were able to open a number of stores throughout the UK and get a leg up on many of their competitors. They became the first bookshop chain to be established in the UK!

Exponential Growth

By 1967 the company was growing exponentially. They had more than 100 betting outlets and went public, offering up 1.35 million shares at 50p a piece. It’s been reported that in the year of its launch there were more than £60 million of applications for shares in the company, because of the prominence of the brand. This would be quite amazing in the present however, they were hardly 50 years ago. It’s a sign of just how big they had grown to.

Timeline of Events

Over the coming decades, the company changed hands several hands, with massive deals to be had each time. Here is a quick timeline on these developments:

In 1972 , the acquisition of London as well as Leeds Development Corporation pushed the number of high-street stores to over 1,100
Purchases by Le Tierce SA (Belgium) in 1984, Detroit Race Course in 1985 and the opening of over 100 new stores in the UK in 1987 for over £200 million, allowed Ladbroke’s to expand globally at the beginning of their existence.
In 1988 they bought out Hilton International for a massive £664million which gave them access to an extensive range of betting and hotel establishments throughout the US. Incredibly, they transferred the stock back to the same estate for £3.3 billion in 2005. This is a good business indeed!

Although the list of acquisitions inside and outside of the betting industry could go on, one thing it does show is that Ladbrokes are more than the typical high street bookmaker. They aimed to be a global brand in everything they did and more often than not, their acquisitions allowed them to be a global brand.

Cyril Stein Retires

The company in the 1990s experienced a lot of changes but it refused to stop. The biggest was the retirement of Cyril Stein in 1993. He was able to turn around with his uncle, an organization that was on the brink of extinction and turned into one of the most powerful companies around the globe. We had previously talked about their purchase price of £100,000 in 1956. However, his shares when his retirement in 1993 was worth a reported £2 billion.

The National Lottery

The next year was not just big for Ladbrokes however, but also for betting shops as a whole. There was a new way to bet. National Lottery was founded and this was the year that the government removed several restrictions on what betting shops could advertise. They were able to offer casinos and to almost build their own little slice of the famed Las Vegas strip at the end of streets scattered throughout the UK and all over the world by their betting shops.

The first attempt to merge with Coral is foiled

The year was 1997 when the firm made their initial acquisition Coral in a transaction reported by the company to have a value of £375 million. The deal included 800 betting stores in addition to the impressive fleet of stores that they owned. The deal was forced to be reversed when it was decided that the merger could give an unfair advantage and market share over the competition or, more simply, an monopoly.

Moving Online

The next major step taken by the company within the industry was that the introduction of betting online. Due to their existing popularity within the betting market and the reality that they had more than two thousand betting establishments in their inventory the online website was among the fastest-growing and largest in the business over a period of time.

It is interesting to note that they were the first online website that was able to translate into Thai and Chinese as a way to dominate market share in the Asian betting industry. Even today, Ladbrokes is still very loved by Asian bettors, offering a number of Asian safe banking options on the site , and Asian focussed betting markets, such as The Asian Handicap.

Ladbrokes Coral

It was a long time coming. The acquisition of Coral took a number of years to complete, but was finally completed and signed in July of 2016 for a total that was in the range of £2.3bn which makes it one of the largest mergers in the history of the industry. The final numbers of Ladbrokes Coral to 4,000 stores and 30,000 employees throughout the network.