Ladbrokes Bookmakers – Ladbrokes Betting review


Whilst the precise origins of the bookmaker’s trade have long since been lost, the love of betting (on horseracing in particular), seems to have been an inbuilt trait of the English since time immemorial. By the early nineteenth century, betting was transacted between individuals (usually the owners of the horses involved). This first recorded bookmaker was a Lancashire gent, by the name of Ogden, who offered prices on all the horses in a race at Newmarket. “Goodwill” betting contracts between bookmakers and punters, with no money being exchanged, led to huge debts, “welching” on bets and a general feeling of unease between the two sides. The Gaming Act of 1845 outlawed such practices, with bookmakers henceforth insisting on cash. The introduction of betting shops followed shortly afterwards, but these were promptly banned by the 1853 Betting Act. However, it is though that about two hundred bookmakers existed, plying their trade predominantly on the racecourse.

In 1886, Messrs. Schwind and Pennington formed a partnership, with the principal objective of backing horses, trained by the former, Ladbroke Hall in Worcestershire. In 1902, they were joined by Arthur Bendir, who was responsible for naming the company after spotting a signpost for Ladbroke Hall, where they held their first meeting.Soon after Bendir’s arrival, the emphasis of the newly formed Ladbrokes changed from backing horses to laying them, as bookmakers. The initial customers were members of several famous London gentlemen’s clubs.

In 1961, after Harold Macmillan’s Government legalised betting shops, a huge industry grew almost overnight. At one stage, the U.K. had in excess of fifteen thousand betting shops. Cyril Stein was the driving force behind the Ladbrokes group during this period. He bought many sites, based on position rather than condition, refitted them and transformed Ladbrokes into one of the best-known bookmakers in the U.K. His investment proved wise as turnover took off, making his company the largest U.K. bookmaker as well. In 1975, Ladbrokes became the saviour of the Grand National. The owner of Aintree racecourse, Bill Davies, wanted to sell it for property development, which would have meant the end of the great race. Ladbrokes stepped in and did a deal with Davies, to sponsor and run the National. The inauguration of the National Lottery in 1994 had a major impact on football pools companies, leading to Ladbrokes acquiring Vernons. In 2003, Ladbrokes became the first bookmaker to allow customers to use one account online, on the telephone and in their shops.In 2005, Ladbrokes acquired your author’s regular source of income, Welsh bookmakers Jack Brown Ltd.


The “Ladbrokes” brand is synonymous with betting and gaming. The company employs over fourteen thousand staff in five countries, making it the world’s largest betting firm. Ladbrokes is the leading bookmaker in the U.K., Ireland and Belgium with over 2500 betting shops. It also operates betting facilities at most of the leading FA Premiership grounds. Ladbrokes are represented at all the leading racecourses and are known as the “magic sign” within the horseracing industry. This is due to the fact that given their size, Ladbrokes are able to significantly influence the on-course betting market. If they have substantial liabilities about a horse that is drifting in the on-course market, they can lay off some of their liability and shorten the price at the same time, by backing it with money from the offices.

2006 saw Ladbrokes open its first shops in Italy, with plans for over two hundred outlets. International expansion also includes Spain and even China, where in partnership with the government, Ladbrokes offers betting on the state lottery.


Ladbrokes is a world leader in “remote” gambling. Its telephone betting service alone has in the region of 125,00 customers. The Internet website ( is available in thirteen languages and sixteen currencies, servicing over half a million punters. Ladbrokes offers a wide variety of betting opportunities, over and above the three punters favourites, namely horseracing, greyhound racing and football. Online betting is available on a wide variety of sports, including:

  • American Football
  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Cricket
  • Darts
  • Golf
  • Ice Hockey
  • Motor Sport
  • Rugby League & Union
  • Snooker
  • Tennis

Non-televised events can be followed conveniently at the website, which provides live scores.
Ladbrokes also offer online betting on TV programmes such as “Big Brother” and the various other “eviction” type shows which have lately come to the fore.


In the betting shops, there are numerous lottery type draws to keep a punter entertained between races. These include Ladbrokes Lotto and the 49’s, which are held numerous times each day, along with betting opportunities on the real lotteries in Spain and Ireland, along with several others.

For those who like to dabble in the financial markets, online betting is available with Ladbrokes on the Dow Jones Index, with constantly shifting odds.

Ladbrokes Poker offers online “Texas Hold ‘Em” poker. Downloading the appropriate software is straightforward, with comprehensive instructions. As with many sites, there are special offers on registration, such as free bets or free poker chips.

Ladbrokes Casino Games

A section of the Ladbrokes website is dedicated to casino games. Some 160 games are offered including all types of poker, blackjack, craps and slots.