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Gav Limited
Type Public
Founded 1886
Headquarters Imperial House, Imperial Drive, Rayners Lane, Harrow, Middlesex HA2 7JW
Industry Gambling
Products Sports betting, Financial betting, Poker, Casino, Games, Bingo and backgammon.
Revenue £1,172.1 million (2008)
Operating income £323.9 million (2008)
Net income £211.4 million (2008)
Employees 15,000 (2009)
Ladbrokes Shop Logo

Ladbrokes plc (LSE: LAD) is a British based gambling 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.[1]



The Company was founded by Messrs Schwind and Pendleton in 1886 as commission agents for horses trained at Ladbroke Hall in Worcestershire.[2] The name Ladbrokes was adopted in 1902.[2] In 1956 the Company was acquired by Cyril Stein and Max Parker.[2]

In 1961 the Government legalized betting shops under the Betting and Gaming Act. 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.[2] On the last Saturday of 1963 football results cost the Company over £1 million.[2]

In 1967 Cyril Stein became chairman of Ladbrokes and floated the company on the London Stock Exchange.[2]

The Company acquired Texas Homecare in 1986[2] and in 1995 sold it to J Sainsbury plc who integrated it into its own Homebase chain.[2]

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 the hotel operations to Hilton Hotels Corporation for £3.3bn and once more rebranded itself Ladbrokes plc.[3]

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): however the ASA cleared the campaign.[4]


Overall the largest betting company in the UK and largest retail bookmaker in the world, Ladbrokes owns over 2,200 retail betting shops divided between the UK, Ireland, Italy 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. Chris Bell has worked for Ladbrokes since 1991, and became CEO in 2006.

Ladbrokes formerly owned Vernons. Founded in 1925, until the intervention of the National Lottery, Vernons concentrated on Football pools. The company also owns and operates two greyhound stadia at Crayford and Monmore.

The company came under fire in January 2009 from the Advertising Standards Authority due to complaints received relating to a recent advertising campaign.[5]

On 19th November 2009 Ladbrokes PLC announced the proposed closure of its Aintree call centre, where both its telebetting and Customer services operations are partially run from. The reason is a 41% drop in half year profits in its telebetting business in the first half of 2009, coupled by the fact that bookmaker profitability is greatly enhanced by moving offshore to avoid taxes and leveies imposed by the UK Horse Racing Authority. The company entered a 90 day consultation period with the 263 affected members of staff,[6] It has now been confirmed that the call centre will close on the 27th March 2010, including people who have already left the company in February 2010 there will be a total of 263 jobs losses from the Aintree Site.

Loyalty Card

Ladbrokes became the first betting firm to offer a loyalty scheme on 1 June 2008.[7] 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; however 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.


From 2007 onwards Coolmore Stud 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%[8]. 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%.[9]


  1. ^ Vedanta, Lonmin, Drax all to be promoted to FTSE 100 index
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Ladbrokes History
  3. ^ Hilton hotels businesses reunited
  4. ^ Ladbrokes ad scores ASA victory
  5. ^ "Ladbrokes comes underfire from TV watchdog". 
  6. ^
  7. ^ Ladbrokes launches Loyalty Card
  8. ^
  9. ^

External links

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