The History of British Bookmaker Ladbrokes

by Staff & Contributors on November 5, 2020

in Gaming

The UK gambling market is one of the largest in Europe and also among the best regulated worldwide. For punters who choose local casinos, finding a way to beat the house edge is the only concern because UK GC licensed casinos are perfectly safe. Among them, Ladbrokes stands out from the crowd as an experienced gambling operator running a casino, a bookmaker and a poker room. The company was founded more than a century ago, in 1886 and the name was adopted 28 years later in 1902.

An Institution of Gambling in the UK

Looking back at the amazing history of Ladbrokes it is impossible not to be impressed by the manner in which the company grew over the years. Until the half of the 20th century, most of the people gambling here were members of the British aristocracy and people who join the exclusive gentlemen’s clubs. Things have changed after the Second World War and the company made its services easily accessible to a broader audience, which led to its meteoric growth.

Before growing into an all-inclusive gambling company website offering sports betting, casino games and poker, Ladbrokes dwelled mostly on horse racing. At the popularity of the sport decreased in the 50s, it was acquired by Mark Stein, which prompted the expansion to local betting shops. They soon moved beyond borders to invest in the Dragonara Palace in Malta and were listed on the London stock exchange in 1967.

In the late 70s, the company had to weather a big scandal about illegal marketing schemes and the bribing of police officers. The results were terrible, with several casinos being closed in London and much of the profits were lost in the years to come. Ladbrokes restored its former glory in the following years and slowly but surely expanded its business nationwide. Its return to casinos in the 90s marked another important milestone after a few difficult years when the company accumulated a lot of debt.

The Coral Acquisition in 1998

The competition with Coral ended abruptly in 1991 when Ladbrokes acquired its rival, alongside nearly 900 betting shops. Unfortunately for them, this victory was short-lived, as the Monopolies and Mergers Commission forced them to sell their new acquisition. They continued to expand their business nationally and double down on the marketing campaigns, to reach a greater audience. This has led to a few conflicts with the Advertising Standards Authority, but they were ultimately resolved.

Ladbrokes also expanded beyond borders and now operates in Spain as well, as well as Australia where it acquired a major sports betting firm. The acquisition of Coral denied by the government in 1998 eventually came into fruition nearly 2 decades later. In 2015, the company merged with Gala Coral Group in a move that produced the biggest bookmaker in the UK. In 2017, GVC Holdings acquired Ladbrokes Coral and the corporation is still the owner of the prestigious UK bookmaker and casino.


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