The internet-based betting industry has transformed the way it’s operated. It’s not difficult to believe to say that it has had a negative impact on bookmakers that are based in the high street however, with a number of the smaller ones being acquired by bigger competitors.
While numbers are certainly down from where they were at their peak, the main street has actually been relatively solid in the gambling sector over the last decade or around. There have been closures of some shops however, it is for the first-time in a long time , the market has stabilized and in some cases, had periods of growth over the past five years or about.
The biggest change we’ve seen is the fact that there are less options for brands. As you will see from the list below, vast majority of the 843 brick and mortar bookshops on the UK’s main streets are currently run by just five brands.
This is our list of the biggest high street companies in the business in the present.
William Hill – 2,200 Shops
William Hill is one of the most iconic betting brands in the gambling industry. They first opened their doors in 1934 and since then have gone on to enjoy huge success from both the high street and the online world.
A majority of workforce of more than 16,000 perform their duties in betting shops. They help to generate the massive profit of PS1.6 billion earned each year.
The brand has changed hands multiple times throughout the years and is one of the biggest bookmakers the industry has experienced.
The first of the takeovers began in the year 1971 in the year 1971, when Sears Holdings first got involved. Others have included the Grand Metropolitan in 1988 and later Brent Walker in 1989. Since then, they’ve bought and sold several segments of the business such as greyhound racing, gambling shops and software firms, to name just a few.
The brand is also prominent brands in the light of the recent regulations regarding FOBTs. They have stated that they could see over 25 percent of their betting establishments being shut down as a result which could mean the loss of more than 7,000 jobs.
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Ladbrokes 1 800 Shops
Ladbrokes is another company that has been ubiquitous across our high-streets for years now. They’re the oldest bookshop in the UK and were initially launched in 1896, a long time before high street bookmaking became legal in 1961.
The company is now part of GVC Holdings, who bought the Ladbrokes Coral brand not long after the two bookmakers merged in a deal initially valued at PS2.3 billion. GVC then bought PS4 billion to acquire this Ladbrokes Coral group along with all assets that came with it, in the biggest ever transaction in the history of gambling.
It’s important to remember that Coral and Ladbrokes operate as distinct brands on the high street however, they’re essentially the same entity. This means that GVC Holdings are technically the most important company on the high street, operating over 3,300 betting stores within the sector.
Ladbrokes are probably the major early pioneers in high-street bookmaking They were also the first to begin pushing the idea on a scale of number. In just six years, after high street betting was made legal in the UK they managed to open more than 100 betting stores, which is more than times more than the average brand. They were the first company to go public through the stock exchange and are regarded as one of the most renowned betting brands on the market.
Coral – 1,500
Coral was founded in 1926. It was first established out of a small , London-based office. They became extremely well-known, even in their early days and focused on making sure that they gave the best possible product at the lowest prices for their customers.
They were the dominant force at the racetracks and dog tracks across the UK for years, however, they started their first high street betting shop in 1961. In just 12 months Joe Coral (formerly Joseph Kagarlitsky) was able to open 26 betting stores in the UK which helped them become one of the biggest in the world at the time.
As of 2005, Coral bought the Gala brand and set their worth at PS2.1 billion. Then the merger with Ladbrokes just a decade later meant that they were able to progress once more, and like Ladbrokes they are now member of GVC Holdings’ empire.
Their presence in the high street is one that is some more uncertainties than the majority. It’s possible that a change inside GVC Holdings will mean that several of their stores change to concentrate on one of the brands which could put the Coral name in jeopardy moving forward.
However, at the moment this is speculation They remain one of the top brands on the high streets in the present.
Betfred – 1,600
Fred Done founded Betfred in 1967 and is still very integral to the business even to this day. In an industry where mergers and acquisitions frequently, Betfred are still owned and operated by Done that tells a lot about the fundamentals of the brand.
The main street has been very accommodating to Betfred, in fact, they have been able to become more accessible due to a winning betting their own money on England to be victorious in that 1966 World Cup. They were able to make huge profits at the local horse and dog racing tracks too, but it was on the high street, first in their hometown of Salford, that Done was able to grow the Betfred brand.
The result is that Betfred now have one of the largest ranges of shops on the high street in the business. Their success has been widely dependent on the ability of Done to develop game-changing betting markets like Lucky 15, Goals Galore along with Double Delight.
One of the biggest decisions in the history of the company was the acquisition of the Tote in 2011. After a lengthy process that included many months of bidding on this contract with the federal government, they decided to choose Betfred as the bookmaker to take this company forward in the sum of PS265 million, with a percentage of it going to the tax payer and to the racetrack.
What’s fascinating what’s interesting about Betfred is that they are one of the few firms trying to establish themselves to the high street. It’s evident that Done has created a strategy that customers love. they’re one of the more solid brands in this time of uncertainty.
Paddy Power – 660 Shops
Paddy Power are one of the largest and best exports out of Ireland that the gambling sector has ever seen. They currently are among the smallest collection of shops on our list, however they also have an enormous presence in their home of Ireland.
The company has seen increased performance since the majority bookmakers switched to online betting. The main street has been generally kind toward Paddy Power, and where the FOBTs that are drastically limited in the UK have affected other bookmakers However, they’ve never been barred from Irish betting shops, so Paddy Power won’t feel the impact in the way as UK only bookies will.
In reality, the number of Paddy Power shops is on an increase, growing from 350 in 2010 to more than 600 in the present.
They merged together with Betfair in 2016 made them the biggest bookmaker in terms of revenue in the last year, and they are worth a staggering PS10 billion due to the merger.
Boylesports – 300 Shops
Boylesports is among the most fascinating book stores around the globe at present. They are among the most renowned independent bookmakers in Ireland and have a strong local presence on the high street that includes more than 250 betting shops.
They were in the news in 2019 when, a few weeks after the gambling industry restricted FOBTs and bookies were talking about closures, BoyleSports stated they would be entering the UK market. Their initial acquisition was that of 13 stores belonging to the Wilf Gilbert brand, but wanted to see the more than 100 by the end of 2020.
The company was actually unsuccessful in attempts to obtain 400 stores on the back of the Ladbrokes Coral merger as they were obliged by the law of market monopoly compliance to open some of their stores. However new opportunities have been created.
It will be interesting to examine what happens if Boylesports can buck the trend of decline in high street betting shops and bring fresh life to the gambling industry.