Signing Up/User Interface
One of the more comprehensive online betting experiences available, the website incorporates a myriad of markets, promotions and much more besides into its website
The first thing to note about the Ladbrokes website, and in particular the homepage, is just how much is going on. As well as the in-play markets that take pride of place on many bookmaker sites, there is also a list of the next horse races going off (including the front three in the market) as well as other betting opportunities and all manner of adverts for promotions and online gaming.
Though the in-play and ‘next races’ features are useful, there is plenty on the homepage which we could do without. Betting on the Christmas Number 1 and next year’s Eurovision winner, for example, are probably markets that probably don’t justify their prominence and as a result it can be difficult to find your way around, especially for newer customers.
The navigation bars at the top are more helpful, however, with quick links to some of the more popular betting sports, as well as the casino and extensive selection of online games. Meanwhile, the sidebar shows a full selection of betting opportunities, and is retractable so it doesn’t get in the way while browsing specific markets.
Within most individual sport pages things are also well organised, for example by country in the football section, though the horse racing area is more akin to the homepage. Masses of different meetings are all displayed on one screen, making it almost more difficult to pick out the race you want to bet on than pick the winner when you eventually find it.
Range of Markets
It would probably be a slightly exaggeration to say that Ladbrokes’ range of markets is unrivalled, but it is certainly very extensive indeed, from individual football matches to the range of ante-post opportunities available in racing and less traditional betting markets.
One benefit of Ladbrokes using the same resources as a result of their merger with Coral is that their combined trading teams can price up many more events and bets than most of their rivals, especially compared to slightly smaller firms.
Even allowing for automated trading it gets to the point when you wonder who on earth could be betting on certain events, for example Angolan women’s handball, or the weight of the next royal baby? Taking advantage of a quickly growing area of sportsbook gambling, a full range of politics bets are also available on-site.
Bonuses and Promotions
It’s pretty much impossible to ignore the vast range of offers available just about as soon as arriving on the website’s homepage. A £50 free bet is offered for new customers, but it is also refreshing how many promotions are open to existing punters as well.
In addition to the more tradition ‘acca insurance’ and ‘Best Odds Guaranteed’ concessions, there are some newer and more innovative offers available. For example, ‘Bet Boost’ allows customers to (marginally) increase the odds of one selection per day. With stakes limited to £200 it’s clear this isn’t aimed at the most serious gamblers, but it’s still a nice feature for more casual punters.
With #GetAPrice Ladbrokes is also participating in the new trend of online bookmakers pricing up requests from customers on social media, and those who have taken part in similar schemes with other big firms will likely find that this is generally available on a wider range of events than they might be used to.
In-Play and Streaming
Coupling their in-play markets closely with opportunities for live streaming, a very large number of sports, including less obvious disciplines, are available for betting in-play. Though the majority of these don’t provide streams, there are still plenty of chances to watch live pictures, as well as the function to watch horse and greyhound races provided a bet has been placed on them.
Ladbrokes also offers horse racing radio and greyhound commentary which are strong features in its content arsenal although you have to look hard to find these useful services and there is little evidence of Premier League commentary or football radio with is an omission.
A large quantity of markets are available in-play within in each fixture, particularly on football, and the site places a particular emphasis on ‘next team to score’ bets, an innovative way in to matches which may be effectively over for outright purposes.
Statistics and Information
Particularly when betting in-play, the information made available to punters is more than sufficient. With visualisations of football matches which aren’t available to stream alongside live scores and stats for other markets, it makes live betting look a lot more appealing to those who can’t simply watch an event online or on television.
The quantity of information provided for racing markets is also fantastic, with verdicts and tips available from the Racing Post on each British and Irish race, and the option for more seasoned form students to open a pop-up window with in-depth comments and analysis.
In addition to the usual Debit and Credit card options, Ladbrokes are following most of the industry in accepting a wider range of payment options, including online finance services such as Skrill. Paying in and out of an account in Ladbrokes shops is possible through ‘The Grid’, a card scheme which also provides free bets and other loyalty bonuses for customers.
On the opposite end to these newer ways of making a deposit, there are also alternatives for those who prefer more traditional methods, with cheques and even bank wires listed among the possible payment methods on the website.
Transaction times, especially with regards to withdrawals through credit/debit cards, are fairly standard at 3-5 days.
Customer Satisfaction and Support
Customer support is readily available, if subtly enough indicated, through icons at the top left hand of screen. The chat function is the primary option for one-on-one support but as a first port of call an archive of questions asked by customers are also available through the ‘Help Centre’, which should be suitable for most non-specific inquiries.
For more successful punters, Ladbrokes have been criticized for closing or restricting some accounts, though the problem doesn’t seem to be as widespread as some of its close rivals. That maximum payout of £500,000 to £1,000,000 for most of the more popular sports is satisfactory (though it’s lower for areas such as politics and lower league European football), but the firm has had questions to answer over its charging of an ‘inactivity fee’ to customers who haven’t used their account in some time.
The wealth of content available on the Ladbrokes website is generally a good thing, but it does sometimes result in overcrowding in terms of the interface, especially on the homepage. Once familiar with this, however, the site does become altogether easier to use, and it is difficult to find fault with the wide range of generous promotions.
Though perhaps a website more for the recreational punter than the professional gambler, Ladbrokes offers something for just about everyone, and by and large offers it effectively, stylishly, and above all comprehensively.