The journey of Scotbet
Scotbet’s online gambling service is operated by Corbett Sports who are licenced and regulated by the Gambling Commission (license number: 1950).
Scotbet has a very long history dating back to 1961 when bookmaking first became legal in the UK. Its first betting shop was opened in Niddrie by Kenny Waugh Senior. Waugh made quite a success as a bookmaker, by 1981 he had opened 11 betting shops. During 1981 he made a bid of £350,000 to acquire Hearts Football Club. However his bid was unsuccessful and Hearts FC was sold to Mr Wallace Mercer.
A few months later Kenny Waugh focused his attention to the football club which he supported as a child, Hibernian FC (Hibs). It is thought that it was his allegiance to Hibs that hindered his chances of acquiring Hearts a few months earlier. In 1982 Waugh acquired all the shares in Hibs from Tom Hart.
Waugh invested much of his time, effort, energies and money into Hibs but unfortunately failed to win any trophies. Five years later he sold his shares in Hibs to David Duff for £100,000 and moved his attention back to his bookmaking enterprise. This time around he decided to make it a family affair and brought his family on bard with his business as well. This included his wife Dorothy Mckenzie Waugh and his son Kenneth Mcdougall Waugh who were shareholder of the bookmakers.
The business was first incorporated on 14th March 1996 and for many years the company was called Morrisons Bookmakers Limited. It wasn’t until 18th July 2011 that the shares in Morrisons Bookmakers Limited were transferred from Waugh’s Festival Inns Group Limited to Scotbet International Limited.
From its incorporation, Morrisons Bookmakers achieved growth every year from 1997 up until the financial crisis in 2008. In 1998 it saw a turnover of £9.8m and at Waugh’s peak in 2008 revenues had increased each year up to £83.4m. Morrisons Bookmakers proved to be a good contributor to the Scottish economy, in 2009 £4.3m was spent in staff salaries.
In 2008 Morrisons Bookmakers acquired Sean Graham's entire Scottish portfolio in a £2 million takeover deal. The deal included 13 outlets of which three were in Edinburgh. This increased Morrisons' estate to 72 shops. The deal increased their employment levels by 68 employees to a total of 350 across the organisation.
Unfortunately the financial crisis proved to be a huge headache for Morrisons Bookmakers and the Waugh family and they began selling off some of their stores. Waugh’s family eventually sold out to Scotbet International Limited who took over the bookmaker’s chain.
Scotbet themselves had a couple of turbulent years throughout the economic uncertainty. Eventually, by 2013 Scotbet had steered the bookmakers back into growth and revenues increased to 138m.
Unfortunately employment levels have never reached their peak again within Scotbet. This is a result of investment in technology, centralisation and an increase in efficiencies within the bookmaker’s organisation.
In 2015 Scotbet took the ethical step and joined other industry heavyweights such as Ladbrokes, William Hill and Coral in the Senet Group, the gambling self-regulatory body and today Scotbet currently operate approximately 90% of the betting shops in Scotland.
Sadly In June 2014 Kenny Waugh’s wife, Dorothy sadly passed. Kenny survived just another year after her death and he passed away on 5th September 2015, aged 78.