A British brand with history
Ladbrokes as a brand dates back as far as 1886, when it was founded to act as an agent for horses trained at Ladbroke Hall. It moved from Warwickshire to London in 1902, and adopted the name Ladbrokes from then onwards. From 1919 to the 1950s, Helen Vernet worked at Ladbrokes, the first licensed female bookmaker in Britain.
More recently, Ladbrokes announced in 2015 that it was looking into a merger with Gala Coral Group. Together, the two companies had over 4,000 betting shops, but due to competition laws, Ladbrokes sold off nearly 400 shops before the merger was completed to form Ladbrokes Coral Group in November 2016.
Big brand developers and bit-part players
The lion’s share of games at Ladbrokes Casino is powered by Playtech software, and this gives peace of mind when it comes to issues like confirmation that the random number generators used really are random. RNG and RTP are both tested by recognised, trusted third-party consultancies, and the certificates are available to view on the Ladbrokes Casino website itself.
There are also plenty of games from other studios too, though, with around 20 different developers featured across the site as a whole, and you are as likely to find yourself playing a game from one of the other studios as from Playtech – just look for the logo on the loading screen if you want to be sure.
Mixed views on mobile
Mobile is one of the areas where Ladbrokes Casino could do better – although with a good range of apps available for both iOS and Android, you could argue that it is already covering all the bases.
But it’s the mobile website that’s a bit of a let-down, even though on the desktop site, each game has an icon to show whether or not it’s available on mobile. The problem is that when you visit the mobile site, it looks and feels different – it’s very much a separate, trimmed-down mobile site, rather than a responsive version of the main website that fits on a smaller screen. This won’t be a big deal for everyone, but it’s a bit jarring if you’re the sort of player who prefers things to function the same no matter what device you use, and it makes the instant-play option feel like a lesser sibling alongside the multiple mobile apps available for each part of the site.
Instant play on desktop
Having said all of that about the mobile site, Ladbrokes Casino has decent instant play on desktop computers. Not all of the games are available to play instantly on mobile, but as mentioned above, there is an icon to highlight those that are, so you can stick to the same selection on desktop if you wish.
One of the only let-downs with the desktop site is that if you have a pop-up blocker, you’ll need to switch it off in order to launch the games. Click on a title and it will open in a pop-up window, rather than loading on the same page. This can get a little unwieldy, so if you’re not a fan of pop ups, just be sure to close old windows as you go along. It’s unfortunate there’s no option to load games either on-page or as new tabs, rather than entirely new windows, but it’s not really rare to see an online casino launch games in this way.
How to sort the slots
There are several tabs to display different selections of slots. Thankfully, there’s also an All Games option and a search box, so you’re never at the whim of whatever a particular menu screen decides to show you.
If you do decide to focus only on one particular category though, the list to choose from includes Most Popular, New, Favourites, Jackpots, as well as titles also available in Ladbrokes betting shops, followed by tabs for Macau, Fantasy, Super Heroes, Games, Casino Games and All Games. These last few are not specifically slots-related – they cover casino table games like roulette, as well as instant-win scratch cards – but it’s actually nice to see that these broader categories are just a click away from within the Slots section of the site, rather than having to go all the way from the homepage or top navigation bar again.
Preview (some of) the progressive jackpots
The Jackpots tab is your shortcut to the biggest progressive pots on the site, with 20 to choose from. Or it should be – but in fact it doesn’t seem to list all of the Jackpot slots games at Ladbrokes Casino.
The Super Heroes tab has a whole heap of DC Comics progressives, including Batman and Superman titles, that just don’t seem to be listed on the Jackpots page. It’s a shame that they don’t appear on both menus, as they clearly fall into both categories and it’s doubtful anyone would object to the duplication.
On the Jackpots page itself, six of the 20 also give you a live updated preview of how much is in the pot ready to pay out. Again, it would be nice if there was more consistency here, as this puts the other 14 titles into the shade somewhat, but it’s probably a result of Ladbrokes featuring games from many different developers, and it’s a small price to pay for the excellent variety.
Roulette covers the bases
Head to the Casino Games tab for five roulette variations, including European roulette and Multi-Wheel roulette. There’s also SG Interactive’s Key Bet Roulette, if you want to try a game from a studio you might not have seen before.
It’s not the biggest selection, but it’s got the game covered pretty well, and there’s always the Live Casino rooms for a bit more variety and a different kind of interaction.
Blackjack and baccarat
Blackjack is similarly represented, with three versions to choose from, again including a multi-hand option and Double Attack Blackjack, which gives you the option of a second bet after seeing the dealer’s first card.
Compared with some online casinos, it’s a very small selection, and the addition of baccarat, Jacks or Better and other casino card games does little to make up for that. It’s fair to say that the card and table games are not meant to be the stars of the show at Ladbrokes Casino, but at least the effort has been made to cover the basics of all the most popular games.
Live Dealer fills in the gaps
The Ladbrokes Live Casino brings a much-needed boost to the overall table games offering, and you can even watch the gameplay at the Live Dealer tables without funding your account – although you will be prompted regularly to make a deposit, and reminded that you cannot take a seat without funds in your account. It’s a good way to get a first look at what the live rooms are like though.
There are tables for roulette, blackjack, baccarat, poker and Hi-Lo, as well as Eastern games like sic bo and Dragon Tiger. You can also select Ladbrokes exclusive tables if you want to stay on-brand, and this adds even further to the choice on offer.
It’s a pretty strong Live Casino overall, with Playtech-powered games, and your chances of winning on Live Dealer games are factored into the certified RTP rates as calculated by GLI, too.
You’ll need a decent internet connection to stream the video of the dealer, but there’s at least a second chance, as on slower connections the site will attempt to send you a slightly smaller video instead, so that you still see all of the relevant information, but hopefully at a data rate that allows you to maintain a stable connection to the stream.
Taking it Head-to-Head
If your gripe with online casinos is that you’re always playing against a computer or a live dealer, rather than a direct competitor, then Ladbrokes Casino has several options for you.
Ladbrokes Poker has a packed list of tournaments, including weekly specials and free-rolls open only to new depositors, so you should find something to suit your level of experience.
The bingo rooms and lotteries give another taste of going up against human competition, and there’s even Ladbrokes Exchange, a variation on sports betting that allows you to lay odds on a bet as well as backing it, effectively making you the bookie for that bet.
Ladbrokes Casino wins its fair share of awards, but a couple are worth picking out, as they show how this site has been at the top of its game over the course of several years.
Back in 2010, it won the IGA Online Casino Operator of the Year title. Fast-forward seven years and Ladbrokes Casino won another Operator of the Year title, this time at the 2017 EGR Australia Awards.
This snapshot alone shows not only that the site is multi-award-winning, but also the calibre of categories in which it wins. These are overall Operator of the Year titles – not limited to just bingo, or slots, or customer support, but a recognition of strong performance in all areas.
Be careful when banking
First of all, there’s no cause for concern about the security of Ladbrokes Casino’s Banking software – as we’ll mention more in a minute, the site is SSL-certified, so all data is encrypted.
The deposit and withdrawal methods are pretty good, with bank transfers, the major debit and credit cards, and even faster transactions when you use an e-wallet.
What we do want to stress, though, is that when making a deposit, you need to be very careful about which balance you pay into. Within a single member account, you have multiple balances for different parts of the Ladbrokes website.
There’s a Main Wallet, which covers Casino, Live Casino, Poker, Bingo, Slots and Sports, and if you just want to play casino games, this is the one to use. Confusingly, there’s a separate balance called Games & Lottos, and a third for Ladbrokes Exchange.
When you deposit into your account, you have to specify one balance, and the funds are only available for use on that part of the website. There is an option buried in the My Account dashboard that allows you to transfer outstanding balance between the three, so you can technically use your full account balance wherever you want on the site, but it’s much easier if you pay it into the right account balance from the three options to begin with.
Secure and Certified
There are plenty of publicly viewable certificates to prove that Ladbrokes Casino is secure and fair. For a start, the site operates with an SSL certificate, which proves that your data is encrypted when it is sent to and from the Ladbrokes server. You don’t really need to fully understand this, but it means playing at Ladbrokes is as safe as most things you might do on the internet, from online shopping to accessing your bank account.
Certificates from GLI confirm that the random number generators used in different categories of game are genuinely random, and that the results are as you would expect from a real-world machine, table or dealer. There’s also average return to player (RTP) for each major category of games.
As usual, the slots offer a slightly lower RTP overall, but with an average of nearly 96.5% across the whole site – including Live Dealer rooms factored into the sums – you should be able to play for quite some time at Ladbrokes Casino before you need to make another deposit, assuming you choose your games and strategy carefully.
Several routes to Support
What do we want from online casino support? Several different ways to get in touch, rapid response times, and contact details that are not hidden from view. Ladbrokes Casino does pretty well on all three counts.
Once you’re logged in, there’s Live Chat for an instant reply, a freephone telephone number – with several other specific lines to call for certain other parts of the website; for example, if you need help with placing a sports bet – and the option of getting in touch via email.
The site loses points slightly for directing users to an online contact form to fill in, rather than publishing a direct email address to use, but head over to the instructions on how to whitelist the Ladbrokes Casino Support email address so that it doesn’t end up in your Junk folder, and you’ll find the address itself listed there. Why this isn’t just listed on the Contact Us page we don’t really know, and it’s pretty much the only way Ladbrokes Support could do better.
There are also Ladbrokes social media accounts, including the a @LadbrokesCare Twitter account, if you want to Tweet for support instead.
Nowhere to run from Responsible Gambling
At first glance, the Ladbrokes Casino Responsible Gambling policy is a little woolly, with a link in the homepage footer and a lot of text talking in general about the brand’s commitment to making sure gambling is fun, etc.
There are contact details for several of the main support services and advice for concerned family members and friends of people who may have a gambling addiction – so you don’t have to be a member yourself to get some guidance on helping a compulsive gambler.
But, if you are a member, then the Responsible Gambling page takes even greater prominence, and is one of the main areas of your account admin dashboard. From there, you can set session reminders, deposit limits, temporary account timeouts and long-term self-exclusion, so there’s no way to claim ignorance of these options.
Ladbrokes also warn against GWI – gambling while intoxicated – and while this might sound like a pretty obvious thing to avoid, it’s not mentioned as clearly as this, if at all, on many other online casinos.
Your pick of the Promotions
It’s good to see Promotions clearly linked on the Ladbrokes Casino navigation – and not hidden away in your account admin or as a button somewhere at the right-hand side or bottom of the page, as is so often the case.
Here, Promotions are featured prominently and there’s plenty to pick from, with welcome offers for Casino & Slots and for the Live Casino, further bonuses on second and third deposits, and, crucially, plenty more for members beyond those first few deposits.
There’s guaranteed cashback when you stake a certain amount on specific games, casino bonus credit when you place sports bets, and other such crossover offers.
It’s especially great that Ladbrokes link the different parts of the site in this way on some promotions – it’s just a shame that the banking is complicated in terms of the different balances for some sections, as it would be even better if this kind of connectedness was present in all aspects of the site.
Sign up at Ladbrokes Casino and you’ll be enrolled on to the VIP programme, although unlike many online casinos, there’s no blue tier that labels all new members as a VIP by default.
You’ll need to deposit £1,000 in the space of a month to qualify for Bronze status, as well as earning 1,500 points by staking certain amounts on games around the site. For Silver level, it’s £2,000 and 2,500 points, while for Gold it’s £4,000 and 12,500 points. There’s also an invitation-only Platinum tier. You earn VIP points as follows:
- 1 point per £10 staked on casino games
- 2 points per £10 staked on bingo, slots and scratch cards
- 2.5 points per £10 staked on Sports (single bets)
- 3 points per £10 staked on Sports (multiple bets)
Of course, you can potentially stake winnings over and over again – which is why the number of points needed doesn’t tally with the cash deposit requirement. Rewards depend on which tier you reach, but include special promotions and prize draws, premium customer support and enhanced redemption rates for Comp Points.
We’ve always rated the Ladbrokes brand – it’s a little brighter and more polished than most of its rivals – and Ladbrokes Casino does it justice, with plenty of sports betting and virtual sports options integrated into the site, not to mention the poker and bingo rooms, instant-win scratch cards, progressive jackpot slots, Live Casino and, generally, everything you could want from an online casino.
The absence of a free play option is a shame, as it means you can’t practise even when you’re logged into your account, unless you put some of your own money at stake. But, there are plenty of promotions and a clearly structured VIP scheme, all of which helps to give something back to loyal players, while the certified RNG and RTP provide extra confidence that the site functions fairly.
A redesign of the mobile site might be needed in the not-too-distant future, as it’s currently lagging behind other casinos that have adopted a fully responsive website layout, but Ladbrokes performs well when it comes to mobile apps.
Although there are a couple of minor areas to improve, there’s usually something else that more than makes up for the let-down, making Ladbrokes Casino a very strong site overall.