The Oldest Betting Companies in the UK 

The UK has one of the most active betting industries in the world, and that never comes without its fair share of history. Many of the companies that ushered in betting as we know it today, including bk8, have endured for well over half a century and are still alive and well today. Today, we’re going to look at some of the oldest betting companies in the UK—where they started, and how they got to where they are. 

Let’s get started. 

The 19th Century 

Betting as we know it wasn’t legal until the Betting and Gambling act of 1960, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t active bookmakers before then. It was just the case that most of them only operated for a limited set of customers, typically the upper classes for whom gambling was not a crime they needed to worry about being convicted for. 

Most betting was done in private men’s clubs, typically on things like horse racing. In the end of the 19th Century, betting as we know it today began to take shape. There were difficult social issues roadblocking betting becoming more mainstream. In the simplest sense, the poorer in society were held to be less socially responsible than their wealthy peers. Thus, betting was allowed for the rich but not for the poor. This was also the case in many other countries until very recently. 

As far back as 1886, a pair of men began a commission service for racehorses from Ladbrokes Hall. They moved their services to London in 1906 and were set to change hands many times over the course of the next few decades. Having been started in the late 1800s and still in operation today, Ladbrokes remains the oldest active betting company in the UK.

The 20th Century 

In the following century, betting would evolve into the form we recognize. A Polish migrant who came to the UK during the First World War later changed his name to Joe Coral at the age of 14. After being trained by several bookmakers, he was ultimately able to set up his own trackside betting for horses at Harringey and White City. This would later become the Coral we know today, being formally established his credit office in 1943. Traced to its proper origins, this makes Coral one of the oldest betting establishments in the UK. 

But if you’ve heard of Coral, then you must also have heard of William Hill. They are one of the biggest bookies in the UK, and it’s due in large part to how well they have endured. William Hill himself was born in 1903 and began his career early in the races through lying about his age. 

He gained his own pitch by 1925 and began his betting operation from there. Though at first he struggled to make a profit, by the end of the decade he was showing clear and exciting promise, and was making a great deal of money. 

Though he initially had some reservations about transforming his operation into the betting shop model in the 1960s, ultimately, he acquiesced, and gave us William Hill as we know it today. Again, traced to its origins, William Hill is one of the oldest betting companies in the UK. 

The UK have some of the oldest and most well-established betting companies in the world, but that doesn’t mean the betting scene is stagnant elsewhere. Across the globe, people enjoy placing wagers on a variety of games and events, from horse racing to sports to lotteries. One such popular lottery is the Singapore Lottery,which draws millions of players each year. With its large payouts and exciting gameplay, the Singapore Lottery has become a favorite of players in Southeast Asia and beyond.

As for well over a century, then, the betting brands started by humble bookmakers in various parts of the country have given us the betting scene as we know it today. Though the brands proper were not established until the activity became more broadly legal, the UK nonetheless boasts some of the longest unbroken betting company brands in the world.

Sophia Anderson

Sophia Anderson is a blogger and a freelance writer. She is passionate about covering topics on money, business, careers, self-improvement, motivation and others. She believes in the driving force of positive attitude and constant development.