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Ladbrokes plc
Traded as LSELAD
Industry Gaming
Founded 1886

Imperial House, Imperial Drive, Rayners Lane, Harrow, Greater London

Key people
Peter Erskine, Chairman
Jim Mullen, CEO
Products Sports betting, Financial betting, Poker, Casino, Games, Bingo and backgammon.
Revenue £1,117.7 million (2013)[1]
£144.2 million (2013)[1]
£67.0 million (2013)[1]
Number of employees
13,000 (2014)[2]
Slogan The world's leading sports betting and gaming company.
Website (Corporate Website)
Ladbrokes Shop Logo

Ladbrokes plc /ˈlædbrʊkz/ is a British based gaming company. It is based in Rayners Lane in Harrow, London. From 14 May 1999 to 23 February 2006, when it owned the Hilton hotel brand outside the United States, it was known as Hilton Group plc. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a member of the FTSE 250 Index, having been relegated from the FTSE 100 Index in June 2006.[3]


The company was founded by Messrs Schwind and Pendleton in 1886 as commission agents for horses trained at Ladbroke Hall in Worcestershire. The name Ladbrokes was adopted in 1902 when one Arthur Bendir joined the partnership and operations were moved to London.[4]

Ladbrokes' first London offices were situated in the vicinity of the Strand, later moving to Hanover Square in 1906 and, in 1913, the firm graduated to Six Old Burlington Street, Mayfair.[4]

During this time and until the acquisition of the firm by Mark Stein (aka Max Parker) and his nephew, Cyril Stein in 1956, Ladbrokes' clientele was exclusively drawn from the ranks of the British aristocracy and upper classes, many of whom were members of the elite gentlemen's clubs in the St James's area of Central London.[4]

Unusual for the times, Ladbrokes' principal long-time representative on British racecourses was a woman, Mrs Helen Vernet. Having joined the firm at behest of Arthur Bendir in 1919, she was made a partner in 1928 and remained with the firm until shortly before her death in 1956, at the age of 80.[4]

Following the end of World War II the fortunes of Ladbrokes were in steady decline, brought about by a combination of an austere post-war economic climate, a dwindling client base and reluctance to change the firm's specialised approach to bookmaking. As a result, in 1956 the Company was acquired by Mark Stein and his then 28 year-old nephew, Cyril Stein for a reported £100,000.[5]

In 1961 the government legalised betting shops under the Betting and Gaming Act. As managing director, Stein used profits from the traditional areas of the business to establish a chain of betting shops: he was the first to introduce fixed odds football betting. On the last Saturday of 1963 football results cost the Company over £1 million.[4]

In 1966 Cyril Stein became chairman of Ladbrokes and the following year floated the company on the London Stock Exchange at an initial valuation of £1 million. Under his chairmanship, the company acquired Texas Homecare in 1986 and in 1995 sold it to J Sainsbury plc who integrated it into its own Homebase chain. In 1989 Ladbrokes also acquired Vernons Football Pools.[4] In 1993, at the age of 65, Cyril Stein retired as chairman – at which time Ladbrokes was valued at near £2 billion on the London Stock Exchange.[5]

In 1999 the company acquired the Stakis Hotel chain and rebranded itself as Hilton Group plc. On 29 December 2005 the company announced the sale of its hotel operations to Hilton Hotels Corporation for £3.3bn and once more rebranded itself Ladbrokes plc.[6]

Following the introduction of the Gambling Act 2005 in the United Kingdom and the subsequent relaxation of advertising laws for gambling companies in 2007, a TV campaign by Ladbrokes, that included a host of ex-professional footballers, was the first to result in complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA); the ASA cleared the campaign.[7] In the same year, the Vernons brand was sold to SportTech.[4]

The company came under fire in January 2009 from the Advertising Standards Authority due to complaints received relating to a recent advertising campaign.[8]

In November 2009 the company announced it would close its call centre at Aintree with the loss of 263 jobs.[9] The last day of call centre operations at Aintree was at the end of March 2010.

In January 2012 the Ladbrokes affiliate program introduced a new commission model based on the number of new customers sent every month, valid as from 1 February 2012.[10]

[11] On September 5 2013, Ladbrokes launched in Australia.

In September 2013, Ladbrokes plans to launch in Spain.

On 30 September 2013 Ladbrokes issued a warning that full year profits from its egaming division would be much lower than originally expected. Profits from the division were originally forecast to be £27.5 million (around US $44.4 million) for the year, but have now been revised by Ladbrokes to be between £10 million (around US $16.1 million) and £14 million (around $22.6 million). Ladbrokes CEO Richard Glynn said that the lower profit levels for its online gaming operations were due to a number of unexpected events that were encountered by the company over the course of the year. "Our digital earnings have been disappointing, reflecting a lack of competitiveness in sportsbook, lower margins than planned and a greater disruptive impact than expected from the transition necessary to grow digital for the long term," he said.[12]

Since 2007 Ladbrokes operates in Spain through the brand Sportium. This is the result of a joint venture with the Spanish operator Cirsa.

In 2014 Sportium started to operate digitally through the website

In August 2014, Ladbrokes announced a pre-tax profits drop of 49.7% during the first half of 2014. [13]

On 3 December 2014 Ladbrokes announced that it was to look for a replacement for CEO Richard Glynn who was to leave at the end of his five year term.[14]


A branch in Bramley, Leeds.

Overall the largest betting company in the UK and largest retail bookmaker in the world, Ladbrokes owns over 2,400 retail betting shops divided between the UK and Ireland, with more shops in Spain and Belgium. It also operates several online gambling websites offering sportsbook, poker, casino, games, bingo and backgammon. Ladbrokes uses the OpenBet system from Orbis Technology.

The company also owns and operates two greyhound stadia at Crayford and Monmore.

Loyalty card[edit]

Ladbrokes became the first betting firm to offer a loyalty scheme on 1 June 2008.[15] Known as 'ODDS ON!', the scheme rewards bets made with points and free bets. Initially customers got a point for every pound they spent at Ladbrokes; in June 2009, the earn rate was cut to 1 point for every £2 spent. This has enabled Ladbrokes to target promotions specific to the betting patterns of the card holder. The ODDS ON! card can only be used in store.

The standard ODDS ON! card, can be at the owners request upgraded to a full account card which can then be used to access and place bets via the website. This can be done in shop and money transferred onto the card used online, customers can the withdraw money in shop or attach their bank details to the card and have funds transferred to personal bank accounts.

Ladbrokes Poker also operates a loyalty program for its online poker players where players are able to exchange their poker points for gift & prizes.

In May 2012 the Odds ON! reward scheme is set to incorporate use of gaming machines also.

As of 2014 the Odds ON! card point system was 1 point for every £4 over the counter and 1 point for every £20 gambled on a Fixed odds betting terminal. After every 1000 points customers get a £10 free bet.


From 2007 onwards billionaire John Magnier and his business partner racing tycoon JP McManus have quietly been building a stake in Ladbrokes estimated to be more than 10%.[16] In early 2008 it was discovered that another associate of Magnier's' Joe Lewis had been building a stake now estimated to be approximately 7%.[16]


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