When it comes to the battle of the bookie heavyweights you don't get a bigger rivalry than Ladbrokes and William Hill.
These are not only the two oldest and most established UK bookmakers, but they also operate thousands of high street betting shops and have millions of online users.
Both bookmakers also offer feature packed websites with loads of value-adds. All of which can make picking between the two tough for the novice punter.
After extensive testing of Ladbrokes and William Hill across a number of key focus areas, William Hill emerged as a winner in a tight contest. However, Ladbrokes did outperform William Hill in some areas.
Continue reading to find out where Ladbrokes edged William Hill, and what both these bookies have to offer in key areas of the online betting experience.
William Hill and Ladbrokes are two of the oldest bookies in the world, with Ladbrokes founded in 1886 while William Hill was established by the gentleman of the same name in 1934.
In the past century both William Hill and Ladbrokes have gone through changes of ownership, at the same time both bookies have expanded beyond brick-and-mortar betting shops, first with telephone betting, and then via online betting.
Today these bookies compete in the international sports betting space, with both operating successful betting websites with millions of users across the globe.
Ladbrokes is the bigger of the two operators based on employee numbers and net income, with nearly twice as many employees as William Hill and nearly four times the revenue from its operations.
As a rule, major bookies will offer a very wide selection of sports and betting markets appealing to mainstream tastes while also covering lower profile events and sporting activities.
It's therefore no surprise to find that William Hill and Ladbrokes cover over 30 different sporting codes. Ladbrokes has a slight edge in this department, covering a handful of additional marginal sports including badminton, chess and wrestling.
Whether this makes a big difference when picking between the two bookies depends on whether or not you're planning to bet on more niche sports. If you're not, there's really nothing to separate the bookies in this department.
LB: 10 / WH:9
The availability of markets is going to be a bigger factor when choosing between Ladbrokes and William Hill than the number of sports they cover.
However, the large number of sports covered does make picking a winner in the available markets department difficutl, as depth of coverage will vary by sport and tournament.
Looking at the most popular sports we find that the coverage of football matches is largely similar, with both bookies covering even the most obscure leagues and divisions from around the world, while offering comparable numbers of markets for every match.
When it comes to racing, the two are once again neck-and-neck with both offering the same staple racing markets along with a couple of special markets.
All things considered, there's no clear winner in the available markets department. You're going to find the most popular markets for your sport available at both bookies, and the only real difference will be the types of special markets available - which are a matter of personal preference.
LB: 9 WH: 9
While having many sports and markets to bet on is always fun, odds are what sports betting is all about, and the bookie with better odds will ultimately improve the returns you get from your sports betting.
The easiest way to calculate which bookie offers the most value is to see which bookie charges the lowest overround on average, and therefore takes the smallest bite out of your potential winnings.
To determine this, we calculated the overround on a dozen randomly selected football matches across both bookies.
Overall, William Hill claimed the lower overround, with an average of 8.48% against Ladbrokes 9.94%.
William Hill also provided significantly better value on high profile matches, averaging 8.69% for upcoming World Cup and Premier League matches while Ladbrokes carved out an 11.43% overround.
That's not to say that Ladbrokes didn't offer better value than William Hill on some matches. However, based on this assessment William Hill will give you better value on your winning bets in the long term.
WH: 8 LB:6
When it comes to the comparative strength of the mobile apps for William Hill and Ladbrokes the app store ratings based on thousands of reviews provide the best benchmark of app performance.
- Apple App Store: 4,6 stars 100,000+ ratings
- Google Play: 4.4 stars 20,000 + ratings
- Apple App Store: 3,3 stars 2,000+ ratings
- Google Play: 4.2 stars 15,000 + ratings
William Hill emerges as a clear winner on the app front, offering a massively popular app for iOS as well as a popular Google Play app.
WH: 8 LB:7
Offers & Promotions
Gone are the days when Paddy Power dominated the special offer and promotions space. Today any big bookmaker is expected to bring extra value to the table to attract new customers and keep existing ones.
As a result, William Hill and Ladbrokes both offer the standard value-adds you'd expect at a decent bookie, including a best odds guarantee on racing, frequent place specials on daily races and a variety of price boost options which offer enhanced odds or payouts on selected ACCA and singles markets.
However, William Hill goes just that little bit extra with constantly updated promotions that explore new ways to offer value. These presently include top price guarantees on a variety of major sports events, daily scratch-cards and regular money back offers on high profile sports matches or races.
Getting your money in and out of bookies quickly and easily is always going to be important, and both William Hill and Ladbrokes have you covered in this department.
William Hill offers 40+ payment methods, including credit cards, debit cards and payments from a wide variety of online payment portals, including PayPal, Neteller and Skrill.
Deposits from payment providers are immediate, with the exception of bank, cheque and Western Union payments. Deposit limits vary between bookies, starting at £250 for the Paysafecard and going up to £10,00 for direct bank deposits.
Ladbrokes doesn't offer the same variety of payment methods you'll find at William Hill. However, you are still covered for all major payment providers, including Mastercard, VISA, PayPal, Neteller and Skrill. Ladbrokes also offers Apple Pay and Google Pay, which are not available from William Hill.
While it's unlikely you're going to opt out of betting at Ladbrokes because it has slightly fewer payment methods, William Hill is more likely to be able to help if you're using a relatively obscure payment method.
WH: 9 LB: 8
License & Security
Both William Hill and Ladbrokes are licensed and regulated by major international sports regulation bodies.
William Hill is licensed by the Gambling Commission in the United Kingdom and by the government of Gibraltar for its international betting operations.
The same holds true for Ladbrokes who are regulated and licensed by the Gambling Commission in the United Kingdom and by the Government of Gibraltar for its activities in other territories.
This means both bookies are held to the same high standards of conduct and fairness by their regulating authorities.
WH: 10 LB: 10
Live betting is a standard feature at all major bookies, and when it comes to the major players like William Hill and Ladbrokes you're again going to struggle to separate their offerings.
Sports covered by both bookies include football, tennis, cricket, table tennis, volleyball, baseball and esports. Beyond this Ladbrokes typically covers a comparatively wider selection of additional sports with its live betting markets on any given day.
This gives Ladbrokes the edge in the live betting department, albeit one that most punters will not pick up on if they're focused on mainstream spectator sports.
Ladbrokes: 9 WH: 8
Live streaming is something you typically only find at larger bookmakers, and both William Hill and Ladbrokes have you covered in this department.
William Hill operates William Hill TV, which streams live horse and greyhound racing daily. WH TV also covers football, tennis, basketball, volleyball and darts.
Ladbrokes also covers horse racing and greyhounds, along with around 30 football leagues and tournaments from around the world. Other sports include rugby league, basketball and tennis.
All you need to catch this action at Ladbrokes is a funded account.
While you'll get comparable live sports coverage at both bookies, William Hill edges this one as you can access their content as long as you're logged in and relevant broadcasts are available in your country.
Ladbrokes 9 WH:10
In the competitive world of sports betting, it is difficult for any bookie to offer a feature that is truly 'special', as the competition is quick to snap up good ideas.
With this in mind, William Hill does tend to be a bigger driver of innovation than Ladbrokes, pioneering features like the ability to request special odds for events and an online betting community.
Ladbrokes by comparison tends to adopt ideas trialled by other bookies, and then attempt a slicker execution of the concept.
With this in mind there's little to separate the two bookies in this area, although William Hill is good bookie to pick if you want to be the first to be exposed to new betting features.
Ladbrokes: 9 WH: 9
William Hill and Ladbrokes both offer betting websites, with Ladbrokes featuring a more modern, up to date look than a William Hill website that was last refreshed several years go.
The Ladbrokes website is also easier to navigate. The site navigation makes everything a bit easier to find, whereas William Hill required some digging around to reach many markets.
An example was finding the forecast and tricast markets for horse racing appearing as an option on the William Hill betting slip, rather than as odds markets for the race in question.
So, while William Hill may be the clear winner on the app front, Ladbrokes comes out on top in the battle of the websites.
LB:9 WH: 7
If you run into trouble making deposits or withdrawals, or need assistance getting your account up and running, it's important to have fast, efficient customer service at hand.
William Hill is a clear winner in this department, offering its users instant, direct access to the help team via its live chat service.
Ladbrokes, in comparison, leaves its users to rely on email and Twitter to bring issues to the attention of its support team.
We also looked to Trustpilot to get an idea of what the average punter thinks of its interaction with a betting brand, as platform users tend to pull no punches when evaluating brand performance.
William Hill has a Trustpilot rating of 2.9. This compares very favourably with Ladbrokes rating of 1.3.
However, Ladbrokes is far more responsive to complaints than its rival on this platform, replying to 73% of all negative reviews.
While Ladbrokes responsiveness towards consumer complaints is encouraging, instant chat support combined with a better consumer rating hand this round to William Hill.
WH: 9 LB: 7
When it comes to online casinos operated by bookies, the type of experience on offer as well as the game selection is largely determined by the casino software provider.
Both William Hill and Ladbrokes make use of Playtech, which means the sampling of games and software performance across the two casinos is more or less the same.
Even the game jackpots are pooled across partner casinos run by various betting brands.
As a leading casino games providers Playtech more than delivers for both bookies with a wide selection of casino table games and slots, and leaves William Hill and Ladbrokes tied in the casino department.
WH: 9 LB: 9
Online bookies rely on shared poker networks to generate player pools large enough for a bustling poker community, with poker software provided by a 3rd party provider.
Both William Hill and Ladbrokes are on the iPoker network operated by Playtech. Playtech also provides the poker software used by both bookies.
This means that both bookies benefit from a large player pool that ensures you can find a game any time of day and night and enjoy the top-quality software provided by Playtech.
It also means there's little to separate William Hill and Ladbrokes when it comes to poker, with both bookies delivering a high quality, and largely identical product.
WH: 9 LB: 9
William Hill's bingo experience is provided by Playtech, which is also partnered with William Hill for poker and casino games.
This means bingo players on William Hill benefit from a large player base shared with several other bookies on the Playtech network, as well as significant guaranteed jackpots at any given time.
Originally part of the Playtech bingo network, Ladbrokes has since abandoned Playtech and thrown its lot in with Electraworks.
This bingo operator works with a number of major bingo brands, including Foxy Bingo as well as a handful of bookies which include Coral and Ladbrokes.
The relatively small size of the Electraworks bingo network impacts the size of the jackpots on offer, and hands William Hill's Playtech bingo portal a win in the bingo stakes.
WH: 9 LB:7
The Vegas/Games sections of the William Hill and Ladbrokes websites are extensions of their casinos, with slight variations on the games available here compared to the main casino.
As is the case with the casino, both bookies make use of Playtech software, which means there's effectively nothing to choose from between the two in this department.
WH: 9 LB: 9
William Hill and Ladbrokes are both top betting providers, and as you might expect there is often little to separate the two bookies even when you dive into the details of their offerings.
With that said, William Hill not only edged the overall points score we tallied up for both bookies, but outperformed Ladbrokes in some key departments including:
- value offer on odds, with lower average overround for sampled markets
- customer service, with instant access to live chat when you need it and a significantly better Trustpilot ranking than Ladbrokes
- mobile app, with a higher rated mobile app, particularly for iOS devices.
Ladbrokes does outperform William Hill in some departments, including live betting selection, website usability and the number of sports covered. However, the areas where Ladbrokes has the edge are unlikely to impact the online betting experience of the majority of new or casual punters, whereas William Hill tends to deliver the goods where it counts.