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Dragon Origins

It was the 1990s, a large huddle of bookmakers and their staff stood around in a self-made circle, the looks on their faces a mixture of incredulous, amused and in some cases a sneer. In their midst and the centre of their attention, bookmaker John Lovell and team. The pressure on computer expert Lawrence’s face there for all to see as he pieced together the kit that was going to kick the betting from the 19th to 21stCentury.

Set up complete, genial, softly-spoken John Lovell called a wager to his clerk, by horse number, not name. The bet was tapped into a keyboard, a split second later, a ticket with all bet details appeared from a car battery-powered printer balanced on half a dozen wooden crates. ‘Pfft, that’ll never take the place of a good clerk’ was one dismissive comment.

He was wrong, a new era was born.   

Proudly Welsh, racecourse bookmaker John Lovell was the first to introduce computerised clerking to the betting rings of the UK. At first, they scoffed, but not for long, John was an innovator and the rest soon followed. He and his family didn’t stop there. By the turn of the century, the on-course revolution that he started was complete. A new era had dawned with the advent of betting exchanges, once again John Lovell, soon to be joined by his racecourse and university-educated sons were at the forefront of new opportunities. They spotted the potential of the new in-running markets and opened the first two-in-one betting shop and specialist in-running suite which became an instant success.  

While embracing new technology the John Lovell team never lost their love for the betting ring. They continued to trace extensively on the racecourses of the UK on a near daily basis, as well as being stalwarts of Welsh point to points, the true grassroots of not only horse racing but bookmaking too.

John, the much-loved and well-respected patriarch of the Lovell organisation tragically died in a freak road traffic accident when the firm was at its peak. Despite their grief, the Lovell family took the business John had built and kicked on.

Always looking forward, 2022 sees the newest evolution of the John Lovell firm, the launch of Dragon Bet, the new name isn’t the forsaking its founder’s memories but an extension of it. John’s son James’ vision for the future is ‘Dragonbet aims to be the online bookmaker of Wales, backing Welsh sport. We want to be an independent, non-corporate, family business that gives back to Welsh sport and champions its success. It’ll be run by my brother and I, offering more bets on more Welsh sport than anyone else with a heavy customer support focus. We want to be a visible bookmaker that you can engage with and as a result will continue to trade on course.

There is no doubt that John would certainly approve, never one for standing still, even when it means a rebranding, Dragonbet is the future of Welsh bookmaking, built on a rock-solid foundation that will always be John Lovell.

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1 thought on “Dragon Origins”

  1. Well done boys ,when you are huge success,s I can proudly say James and Dave are friends of mine 😊👍

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