- UK and Gibraltar
Ladbrokes is one of the oldest bookmakers in Europe. Along with William Hill, one of its oldest rivals, it is a prominent figure on the high streets of the United Kingdom. The famous red and white logo has been instantly recognizable throughout the UK for many decades and by many generations, and thanks to online gambling that logo has also become just as well known worldwide.
But is Ladbrokes just as dominant in the virtual world? Is this historic sports book worthy of being mentioned in the same breath as the likes of Bet365 and 888Sport, bookmakers that are entirely focused on the online sector?
Ladbrokes was founded way back in 1902, making it one of the oldest bookmakers still in existence around the world. It generates revenue of over £1.2 billion a year and it has been one of the biggest players in the world of online gambling since the beginning.
Throughout that time Ladbrokes expanded from a sports book to a sports book that also provided a casino, a gaming section, a bingo room and more. Ladbrokes have also been instrumental in providing new ways to bet. Thanks to a partnership with Digiturf, they were one of the first online betting companies to offer full real-money markets on entirely virtual P2P events. They have also been quick to accept gaming technologies like Fixed Online Betting Terminals, which can be found in many of their offline locations.
It’s not all innovation and quality though. Ladbrokes are able to provide a lot of features to the modern gambler. They offer live betting, they have a huge number of betting markets and they have an extensive casino. However, Ladbrokes can also be a very frustrating site to navigate and at times it can feel like they are a victim of their own size and their own status.
Ladbrokes will always win trust from its players. These days there are new sports books cropping up all of the time and players don’t really know who to trust. They see names plastered on billboards at cricket grounds, they see countless reviews online, and they use all of that to decide whether they are dealing with a reputable company. However, no one even second guesses Ladbrokes, because everyone knows exactly what they are getting.
This site is also very secure and it offers everything you would expect and demand from such a big name. That includes countless markets on games big and small (from the Cricket World Cup to minor league and cup games) as well as casinos, slots and a host of other virtual gambling extras. The odds are also very competitive on Ladbrokes, and they regularly top odds comparison sites as a result.
It’s worth mentioning that Ladbrokes also have one of the best mobile apps (although not the best) and that their customer support, as mentioned above, is fairly solid.
We don’t have a lot of issues with Ladbrokes. We have never had any of those irritating, hair-pulling run-ins with their customer service; we have never had any issues receiving or claiming promotions; and we find their odds to be very competitive and their markets varied.
However, the one issue we have is very difficult to ignore, and it concerns the Ladbrokes software. We can safely say that the Ladbrokes site is one of the most laggy, slow, frustrating sites we have ever used. This has nothing to do with our computer either. The Bet365 site, which is filled with all kinds of live betting markets and streams, works perfectly well. In fact, it’s not unusual for us to watch two live streams at once – all while playing a game and having half a dozen windows minimized – without encountering any issues.
Yet despite all of this, it seems that whenever we load Ladbrokes, we encounter problems. It’s like being stuck on a 56k modem again. It might have something to do with the fact we use Chrome, but it’s the most popular browser in the world, so if that’s the case then that’s even more of a concern.
The issues begin at login, when constant stop-start loading stops the auto-fill username. It continues through to depositing, when pop-ups get in the way, everything takes forever to load and the system suddenly decides we need to re-read every single message it has ever sent us. And it ends when we eventually give up hope and click onto Bet365 instead.
The mobile site is not as frustrating. In fact, it’s everything you would expect from such a well-known, established online betting site. We just wish we could say the same about their desktop site.
Ladbrokes are not the quickest when it comes to responding to players’ emails. However, they have a live chat facility and you can also reach them by phone, both of which will give you an immediate answer to your question. From time to time the customer support can be a little frustrating to deal with. They can be slow, both in regards to the speed at which they reply and the ease at which they comprehend what you’re saying.
However, such instances are rare and are likely caused by new, inexperienced members of staff. On the whole, we have found them to be very professional and very helpful. What’s more, they are always willing to appease annoyed customers by offering free bets. That’s a winning strategy in our book.
Ladbrokes is geared towards the casual gambler. Their ads are shown during live matches, their banners and billboards can be seen everywhere sports fan’s gather. Their typical customer seems to be someone who spends just £10 or £20 a week or month. They are someone who will bet on occasion, someone who won’t necessarily shop around and someone who will stick with Ladbrokes because they are a name they trust and a name they see during every broadcast.
Of course, there’s no problem with that. The fact that they provide so many markets and have great odds means you can still benefit even if you’re a frequent gambler. However, it has a big effect on the promotions they offer. On sites like Bet365, the average gambler spends a little more, gambles more frequently and is therefore offered big matched deposit bonuses. But because Ladbrokes appeals to those weekend gamblers, the average promotion is a small £10 or £20 free bet. They have also taken to offering free £5 no deposit promotions, as well as £5 reload bonuses.
If you bet low or fit the “Casual Gambler” mould, then this is fine. If not, then there is nothing here to entice you.
As mentioned above, there aren’t a great deal of problems with Ladbrokes, but the one that exists is incredibly annoying. If, for some reason, this doesn’t happen to you, then great, enjoy the site! But so many people are reporting the same issues and what is a minor annoyance when placing bets in the sports book becomes an impossibility riddled with time-outs and lag on the casino.
We’re amazed that Ladbrokes haven’t fixed these issues. They have been very helpful when we have emailed them about it, but they seem to revert to a form response of “clear the cache” and “try a new browser”, and in this day and age, that’s just not good enough.
If you use a mobile browse only. If you’re not a Chrome user. Or if, somehow you just manage to avoid any such problems, then by all means signup and enjoy yourself. There is a lot of positives on this site. For anyone who does experience those problems though (and the numbers seem to be high) Ladbrokes is a middle-of-the-road site at best.