Betting Companies & Groups

complex ownership structureBack in the early 1960’s when betting shops were first legalised in the UK all betting companies were independents.  Over time market leaders began to emerge on the high street and famous names like Ladbrokes, Coral, William Hill and Betfred sprung up in thousands of cities and towns across the country.

As times developed and gambling moved online the old high street names still dominated but it also opened the door for new online-only companies.  Between 2000-2010 these began to grow to compete with their land-based rivals giving us massive new companies like Betfair (now Flutter), bet365 and Unibet (now Kindred).

Around 2015 a new trend started of big betting companies merging, notably Coral with Ladbrokes and Betfair with Paddy Power.  These were then further merged into venture capital groups and along with further acquisitions went on to create truly mega companies worth tens of billions, such as Entain (who now own Ladbrokes, Coral, Gala and others) and Flutter Entertainment (Paddy, Betfair, Sky and others).

In 2018 the US market reopened too as individual states were given license to set their own gambling laws.  This lead to a fire sale of UK assets to burgeoning American companies, such as the Caesars Group acquiring William Hill for their online systems and then selling back the UK and European assets to the 888 Group.  There have also been several unsuccessful attempts by US companies to buy Entain.

This now means there are very few independent betting companies left and most of the household names you are familiar with are now part of much larger international groups.  This is important for punters to know as the relationships between brands can affect all sorts of things to do with accounts and offers, for example, if you find your account is limited by say Coral then you can almost guarantee an account with Ladbrokes would also be limited.

On this page you can find news and information about the biggest and most major betting companies and groups.  For more information about a specific company we have dedicated pages below.  Further down this page you can find information about how the relationships between different brands can affect you as a customer.

List of Betting Companies in the UK

Betting Industry News

Betting Groups And Implications For Punters

man looking at share prices on a computer screenThe fact that most of the gambling brands we know today are part of larger groups is a natural progression of the industry.  As online betting has grown and gross gambling yield has increased the pie has become increasingly bigger allowing for monopolies to form, not in a dissimilar way to energy, utilities, banking and finance, construction, etc.  Even many those that have remained as private independent companies have grown to huge levels, such as bet365 and Betfred.

Growth is not a bad thing and mergers and acquisitions to form larger super groups can be good for customers due to associated efficiency cost savings and the availability of more products and features.  There are, however, some downsides too such as; reduced competition and less value for users, a shareholder and profit focused model and the ability for these groups to share information on you between brands.

Here we explore some of the implications for you as a customer of these companies.

Claiming Multiple Bonuses

With some groups now you are restricted from claiming multiple sign up bonuses and sometimes even retention offers.  This means if you claim a bonus with one you may not necessarily be able to claim the introductory offer with another.

This is something that is often buried in T&C’s and not always easy to find until after you have signed up.  Even if groups let you claim multiple offers across different brands they will certainly know every offer you have claimed making it much easier for you to be flagged up for abusing bonuses.

Same Promotions & Features

One big negative of brands merging is they often become very similar, which ultimately reduces the competition between the brands and the choice for customers.  These days the sign up and retention offers available at say Ladbrokes and Coral or Paddy Power and Betfair are identical, meaning there is little point having more than one account within a group – although, it can be useful if you want to claim the same retention offer twice.

Features also tend to be the same, meaning all the brands will have the same type of streaming, cash out facilities, news and insights and free games.

Same Odds & Markets

Odds are set by either odds traders who professional price up markets or computer algorithms, most commonly a mixture of the two.  When brands merge they also tend to merge their markets and data, meaning you will generally get the same odds and markets between two brands in the same group.  There is no competition between them so they combine their data and provide a single price across all the brands.

This is again bad for choice and reduced the reasons as to why you would want more than one account within the same group.  Saying that it is not always exactly the same when it comes to enhancements and price boosts so it can be worthwhile sometimes looking for differences between them.

There can be more noticeable differences, however,  For example, Betfair have a betting exchange (peer-peer betting) but Paddy Power do not so you can often get better odds on the Betfair exchange.  The PP and Betfair fixed odds sportsbooks will be almost identical.

Same Games

Slots and casino games are mostly provided by third party software companies.  Brands make agreements with these companies to license games they can then provider to players on their sites.  The bigger a group is the more power they have to negotiate licenses with games developers and mergers can often mean individual brands can get access to more games at more competitive commission rates.

While each brand may end up with more games the choice of games between two different brands in the same group is usually identical.  Likewise offers and features tend to be the same. Again there is little incentive if you are someone that enjoys sites with novel games to join a brand in the same group you already have an account with.

Cross-Account Limits

Every bet you place online is tracked and monitored.  Most companies assign scores to bettors based on what they bet on, their stakes and how successful they are.  This allows betting companies to do something called ‘stake factoring’, this effectively controls how much you are allowed to bet on certain markets.

While the practice seems unfair to many it is legal and something bookies have always done.  They will limit winning customers and increase the limits of losing customers, to maximise their own profits.  Naturally this issue becomes much worse with the newer super groups.

If you find, for example, you account is limited with Coral you will almost immediately find those same limits in place on Ladbrokes.  This means if you fall foul of one of them you fall foul of all of them.  This can be because you win too often or use too many promotions.

Personal Data

If you have accounts with two or more brands in the same group then information on how you bet, what you bet on and how good you are at betting will be shared between them.  Companies argue that this allows them to deliver a more tailored experience for punters but at the same time it means they can limit or suspend more successful punters across the company.

If you don’t want your data shared between brands you are better sticking to independents or at least only signing up to one brand per betting group.  This may actually end up being a mute point, however, with plans to potentially bring in a ‘single customer view‘ for safe gambling that will track what you bet across any licensed betting site.  There are obvious data concerns there but ultimately your data is already being shared between brands as things stand now.

Customer Support

When brands merge they often merge their customer support too for efficiency.  One reason brands are made to be very similar is so that the company can streamline their products and do things like have only one support facility.

This can be annoying at times.  It has become common now when contacting support to be asked which brand you are contacting about and responses tend to be generic and less personal.