Ladbrokes Casino Review
Ladbrokes is to the world of betting and gaming what the Asda Wal-Mart group is to global grocery shopping – far reaching and dominant but also great value with a focus on the customer.
The brand goes back to the 1880s as a UK sports bookie, but these days they are a worldwide gaming goliath with revenues well in excess of two billion pounds a year. This is a great option for anyone who wants a big online casino site with tons of features alongside a high-class sportsbook, exchange, and other innovative games products.
The main casino is Playtech powered with games from other providers nested in additional sections. There are a huge number of payment methods, high limits, and top regular promotions – exactly what you would expect from a powerhouse like Ladbrokes.
- Added Value – Able to offer plenty of promotions due to their size
- Goliath Of Online Gaming – Casinos don't come bigger than Ladbrokes
- Playtech Powered – One of the world's biggest Playtech powered casinos
Software and Games
Like many of the really big operators, the Ladbrokes site is split into the main casino section, slots, and games. This provides its own set of strengths and weaknesses which I will go into later, but in basic terms, Ladbrokes players can access over 700 titles in total from most of the major software providers. So, if scope and variety are key factors as to where you play that’s good news.
Let’s tackle each section one at a time and judge them on their own merits, as all three provide slightly different experiences:
The main casino is Playtech powered and has 250+ games. One thing Playtech are good for is their partnerships with various movie brands, so you can expect plenty of content you will recognise; Kong, Little Britain, Batman, Green Lantern, The Matrix; Rocky, etc.
Around 85 of these titles are slots, leaving plenty of room for other types of games. You can expect in the region of 30 jackpots (although a lot of them share the same pot) and a cracking range of 50ish card and table games with some really fun variations in there.
Video poker is available in force with 15 games to try, and casual games (scratch cards and the like) hover around the 30 mark.
Taken on its own, the casino is a brilliant product that is all contained to a single screen and offers exciting top tier games that load quickly and are easy to find. You will have to like Playtech to enjoy it, but who doesn’t?
400 titles await you inside the slots section of the site, and confusingly, some of them are duplicate Playtech titles you can also find in the casino section.
What you will find in this area are a lot of titles exclusive to Ladbrokes Coral (the merger is explained later) from their own game studio CR Games, around 40 of them to be exact. These titles are not available anywhere else, so if you like them you have to stick with Ladbrokes (or Coral).
The categories are more of a lucky dip in this area, and you aren’t given too much of a clue at what to expect in each. Casino holds 15 table games (but why are they in the slots section..?), 6 instant virtuals feel like they belong in the sportsbook, there are 40 odd jackpots, and the in shops category holds around 60 games you might have come across in your local Ladbrokes. One more category, games, holds 20 scratch card type titles and could really do with being re-named.
Aren’t they all games?
The 80+ games in this section, bizarrely, can be categorised in more numerous (and more useful) ways than the above two sections, even though there are less of them, and the only thing they all seem to have in common is that they are not available on iphones or ipads or as demos.
Three quarters of what is available in this section are 5 reel slots with a couple of 3 reel slots thrown in. The rest is split between table games, arcade games, in shop titles, keno/number games, and scratchcards; but there are only one or two of each. There are 10 jackpots, although the potential winnings are a bit lame, and the providers are a mixture of those mentioned above.
This is the least impressive section of the three, and in all honesty, I fail to see the relevance of it. The layout is completely different, too, which seems counterintuitive.
Ladbrokes also use Playtech to run their live casino games and there is a great deal of variety within it.
I also really like the way the live casino interface is put together. You can adjust all of your settings to suit your connection, the lobby is accessible in game, and there are lots of extra features to play with such as stats on roulette and the ability to pin your favourite dealers. Speaking of roulette, there are around 15 tables to choose between and all have fairly low minimums, with the max stake I could find being £500. There are some fun themed tables too like live football roulette and a Ladbrokes exclusive table.
Blackjack fans have even more choice with closer to 30 tables (including 3 exclusives), but with the minimum stake being £5 and rising, this isn’t a place for penny players. There are almost 20 baccarat tables as well as poker, sic bo, dragon tiger, and hi lo games. You may have heard of Dreamcatcher by Evolution, well Playtech offer something similar in Spin a Win, which is a colourful wheel of fortune type game.
One thing missing is the ability to play more than one game at a time, but that’s hardly a deal breaker, and if you are like me you will prefer to immerse yourself in the game you are playing anyway.
VIP, Loyalty, Offers
Ladbrokes provide a variety of daily, weekly and monthly promotions throughout their various areas, and they change all the time.
You can see what deals are available from the promotions tab, and it's worth checking each time you log in so that you don’t miss anything. These can be specific to the live casino or to the games themselves, so even if you are quite specific in your gaming tastes, it is likely you will find something to fit your needs from time to time.
Examples of promotions that might be running when you next log in include daily jackpots, slot specific promotions, and seasonal bonuses. In the past, live casino the hosts have even been given the power to give some great prizes away as they see fit – so be nice to them.
The promotions do tend to be fun and original, but for such a huge company it would be good to see a few more of them floating about.
Ladbrokes Comp Points
There is not much to say about the Ladbrokes casino loyalty scheme and this is a good thing, because it means the rewards are clear, honest, and straight forward.
The last thing we need is page upon page of baffling T’s and C’s.
Complementary points are awarded at a rate that is dependent on how much you turn over and what level of VIP you are. This can also be higher for certain games or during promotional periods.
Points are then converted into cash for you to do with what you will. This is real withdrawable cash that you can choose to play with or take out of the account.
It really is as simple as that. A little extra for doing what you were going to do anyway.
If you are a higher end player who likes to stake at least a few hundred each week then you will likely qualify for the Ladbrokes casino VIP programme. If you play at this level you may as well do it with a big casino like Ladbrokes who have the resources to provide a top level package.
VIP players can earn enhanced complementary points and convert them to cash at a lower rate. There are also higher level cashbacks, deposit bonuses, and special events to take advantage of. VIP players will get the usual personalised account managers and enhanced banking terms but it is the VIP hospitality that stands out.
Ladbrokes can offer VIP players tickets and invites to top level sporting and entertainment events that other casinos simply can't match. Just take a look at the sponsorship profile of Ladbrokes, they have a finger in every pie and this means they can give top players fantastic experiences.
Entry to the first 3 VIP levels is automatic when you hit their individual targets, although the very top level is invite only.
The Ladbrokes Story
In the Beginning
Ladbrokes’ origins go all the way back to 1886 when the company was founded by two gentlemen named Pennington and Schwind. These two gentlemen acted as commission agents for horses trained at Ladbroke Hall in Worcestershire, UK, so the company’s roots are well and truly in horse racing.
The company moved to London in 1902 and spent the next 50 years acting as a bookmaker and commission agent for particularly high profile clients from the aristocracy and higher classes mostly. Following the second world war, however, the business model began to break down due to the severe austerity of the times combined with new forms of competition and an ever decreasing client base. The company was acquired in 1956 for a sum of £100,000 by Mark and Cyril Stein. That’s about £2.5 million in today’s money – bargain.
Onwards and Upwards
It was the legalisation of off-course betting in the UK in 1961 that led to the rise of Ladbrokes as a leading British bookmaker. Cyril Stein invested a large proportion of the company’s assets into establishing a chain of high street shops, and Ladbrokes became the first bookie to offer fixed odds betting on football in 1963.
In 1966, ten years after purchasing the company, Stein floated Ladbrokes on the London stock exchange for £1,000,000, increasing its value 10-fold in as many years. The company grew and grew on the high street acquiring various other gambling and non-gambling operations along the way, and by 1993 Ladbrokes was worth over £2 billion.
The Modern Era
The company was one of the first to move online back in 1998 and in the last 20 years they have developed their online operation substantially, with profits in this area now outstripping their high-street business.
Back in 2009 the company moved their online gaming division to Gibraltar although they are still licenced in London, UK.
The Ladbrokes casino has over a million customers and is particularity popular in Ireland and Spain as well as the UK.
The company formed a partnership with Playtech in 2013 to deliver a re-designed casino service alongside their already very successful sportsbook.
In 2016 Ladbrokes finally merged with the Gala Coral Group, after years of trying, and formed one of the world's biggest gaming brands with over 230 years of shared heritage and experience. This has created a gaming operator with over £2,000,000,000 in revenue and over 3500 high street shops employing an army of around 25,000 people.
The brands are kept separate from a user point of view and this will hopefully improve both products further by sharing their already substantial resources and experience. What's more, since March 2018 GVC Holdings plc have been steering the ship, making the company more powerful than ever before.
Using the Website
Ladbrokes run a marmite casino; you will love it or hate it. The sheer scale of what they can offer makes it impossible for them to operate a clean minimalist interface as you might see elsewhere. If you want a simple no fuss casino then this isn't going to be for you.
Saying that Ladbrokes have done an excellent job of condensing all of their various products and features into a user-friendly package – well, as user friendly as you could reasonably expect. For a start, every section of the site is searchable, so if you know what you are looking for, you'll find it in one click.
If you do want to browse the site things become a bit more of a hassle because everything you would usually find contained in an online casino is actually split into 3 different sections; Casino, Slots, and Games (4 including the Live Casino). All of the sections are manageable with clear game tabs, but the layout and functionality differs from one to another, so there is no uniformity to the site as a whole.
One thing they do all have in common is that there are a lot of games on offer, and no way to sub-section them off once you get past the initial genre stage (choosing slots or table games etc). Because the games are essentially split between three different sections of the site this isn’t too much of a mission, but I prefer to avoid endless scrolling where possible. It’s a powerful site, however, and the amount of work it has to do doesn’t seem to slow it down any.
Managing Your Account
Managing your account and getting help shouldn’t be an issue as this will always display in the same place and in the same way, but you will often find three or four different menu bars on one screen as well as potentially other/floating icons, so there is a lot to take in. You can find yourself missing something that is right in front of you. Many of these options will open in a new window too, so try and do one thing at a time to avoid getting swamped.
Banking is a simple affair although it will open in a new window, but that window also contains information about free bets and your gambling history etc, so they have managed to group all of the relevant features together in one place.
Download vs Instant Play
The casino is available in instant play or as a download. The download is especially good, as all Playtech downloads tend to be, and it has won more awards and accolades than any other casino download package. If you do choose to use the download casino you will also be able to access in the region of 50 additional games and slots that are not available in the instant play casino.
The Ladbrokes download is a great option if you don't want to run flash or html5 based games in your browser. The download is less resource hungry and usually works better with slow or intermittent internet connections. The download also lets you try all the games for free so it’s a good option to have initially even if you choose to play most of your games through your browser in the long term.
The instant play casino interface is also very professional and functions well enough, but there is the added benefit of the Games and Slots sections of the site, which bolsters the game library significantly. Ladbrokes have the knowledge and experience to be able to run a casino with a large suite of instant play games and lots of features without being prone to game errors or crashing, so in this respect it will be your internet connection that makes the difference.
Gaming on Mobile
Ladbrokes provide a suite of mobile apps for their various products, casino, games, live casino and sports. This can be an annoyance to some people, but then when you consider the size of the Ladbrokes operation you really wouldn't want everything in one application, it would be a nightmare to run.
It is very clear to see the level of development that has gone into the various mobile packages. The mobile casino has around 80% of the games available on desktop, and they feel more organised on the small screen – there is still a lack of uniformity albeit less so than on the desktop site.
It helps that there is nothing else crowding the options here, whereas on desktop you have the rest of the site to contend with.
If you like to play all the time on your mobile or tablet then then Ladbrokes are a very good option. The app(s) allows you to control every aspect of your account without the need to ever visit the desktop site if you don’t want to.
The Ladbrokes mobile products are also highly functional with a heavily optimised navigation panel and no heavy graphics. This means the apps work exceptionally well on mobile networks and slow wifi connections.
Ladbrokes are especially good at updating their products. If they find a bug or issue they will sort it within hours usually. This is the kind of development power you can only really get with big operators such as these.
We found the app to be a little quicker than the mobile site, but not by much, and both allow you to switch to other products (sportsbook for example) in no time from the menu.
If a broad choice of payment options is something that matters to you then you are in seriously good hands with Ladbrokes. As a business with plenty of money in the bank, they are also able to handle large amounts with ease – good news for high rollers.
Put simply, all major banking methods are accepted with a good deal of more obscure ones too. The minimum deposit can be as low as £5 for some methods and as Ladbrokes run over 2000 shops you can also deposit as little as £1 through the high street stores.
Withdrawal minimums are non-existent at £0.01 and are fee free, while processing times to eWallets are especially quick at just a few hours. Ladbrokes have a large team so they are able to process payments quickly, although not at weekends. There are no additional pending periods to worry about either.
Withdrawal limits are staggeringly high at £250,000 a day (£5,000 if using cash in store), so if you hit a big jackpot you won’t be drip fed it. The limit is only really there to prevent fraudulent activities.
Ladbrokes have one over on almost all other online casinos, in that they also operate thousands of high street betting shops. In an effort to link the online and physical worlds and to make life easier for their customers, they have come up with The Grid.
This is a card which allows you to instantly link your online funds with the cash in your pocket. You could, for example, win £200 on a slot machine on your phone, then walk to your local Ladbrokes and withdraw your online balance in cash. It works the other way around too.
It’s free to join The Grid and it’s worth doing, as it offers exclusive benefits such as machine bonuses and the chance to win prizes for points earned playing in-store games. If you also bet on the sportsbook there is even more to take advantage of.
Doing Their Bit
Ladbrokes got shot down a little in the early 2000s for not being careful enough in promoting their products and so since then they have gone in the opposite direction becoming one of the best operators for safe and secure gaming. They were the first to promote responsible gaming on TV, one of the first members of the Senet group (an independent body established by bookmakers) and they even have their own ' Social Responsibility Board Committee'.
The Ladbrokes casino will allow you to self-exclude for any period (short-term exclusion is termed cooling off), set deposit and session limits, and they are proactive in spotting unusual betting activity that may result from a gambling problem. See Gam Care (http://www.gamcare.org.uk/) for independent advice and for more about how safe gaming tools work see our responsible gambling article.
After a bit of a wobble, it's good to see Ladbrokes leading from the front in this department these days.
One aspect you would expect from a colossus of the industry like Ladbrokes is a comprehensive customer support department, and overall, they don't let players down. You can get in touch 24/7/365 by post or live chat, and Twitter response times are very good indeed. In fact, there is an account set up dedicated to customer care which shows willing.
There is also a free phone number for UK gaming customers which is open from 8am to 10pm, and while this is not 24 hours it is dedicated to casino customers, and live chat is an option outside of these hours so you won’t be left high and dry.
Email is another route but I have a bit of a niggle with them on that front. One of the perils of dealing with such a huge company is that you can end up in an email chain with different people replying each time. After a while this can become really drawn out and confusing, so my advice would be to use live chat or the phone; at least this way you are speaking to the same person each time.
This is a big site and the help section is proportionally large. It isn’t as straightforward as some others but they do a good job of organising information so that it is easy to find, and the FAQ answers query's as succinctly as possible. The live chat icon lingers next to each post in any case, so if you are still stuck you can take the easy option and get help.
Licence & Getting in Touch
UK Licence Number: 1611
- Name: Ladbrokes Casino
- Registered Name: Ladbrokes Betting and Gaming Limited
- URL: www.ladbrokes.com
- Phone: 0800 032 1133 for UK customers
- Principal Address: One Stratford Place, Montfichet Road, London, E20 1EJ
- Twitter: @ladbrokescare