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High Street Betting Shops – Coral

Coral is probably one of the most well-known betting brands currently in the market currently. They’ve been about since 1926 and over the years have managed to form a reputable reputation that has allowed them to become an established brand on the high streets of the UK.

The company has been involved in a range of mergers and acquisitions in the past, but none more significant than the more recent ones which comprise those of the Gala Group and Ladbrokes. This has enabled them to run more than 1,800 betting shops across the UK along with 25 casinos and over 300 betting outlets in Italy.

High Street Betting Shops

The first shop to offer betting for the group was opened in 1961 after the legalization of gambling stores within the UK. They were among the first shops to hit the ground running by introducing high-street betting in the nearly 40 years preceding that they had managed to form a huge following from betting via postal mail and within licensed establishments.

The expansion for the brand came quickly and within a year they had already been able to open 23 stores. Coral wanted to ensure that they could keep pace with the growth of competitors like William Hill back in the 60’s . And while they did not really surpass their dominance, they always a step ahead.

By the mid 1970’s Coral had already opened hundreds of betting shops. Buttheir keen eyes for expansion meant they also targeted other types of betting, such as casino, bingo as well as leisure and hotel clubs. They were able to build a diverse portfolio and eventually made them the world-class powerhouse they are now.

Mergers with the likes of Ladbrokes and Gala let them gain more exposure. The deals that were put in place meant that for many of the shops operated under these companies, including Ladbrokes, they were still able to use their initial name, however they all contributed to the total amount of the group.

As of the writing time for this article, Coral had amassed an impressive collection of more than 21,000 betting shops worldwide, with numerous brick and mortar casinos to boot as well.

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On the Internet

Coral’s online standing is robust and while it’s not fair to say they faced some difficulties at first however, the site is now one of the best designs you can get. The layout is used and tested on the website, and there haven’t been an awful lot of modifications made in the past few yeas. However, this demonstrates the quality of the site is, and eliminates the need for a redesign.

In terms of looks there’s plenty to appreciate about the website. You are able to get an overview of market conditions that are next to kick off as well as an abundance of navigation options to jump right to where you’re supposed to be. If we had to pick one complaint of the site , we’d say that it’s a little hectic, with lots of information thrown at you as soon as you land.

They offer a wide range of features , however most of them aren’t easy to see in their high street store. One of the most popular additions in recent times has been the live streaming feature, that has exploded. There’s a vast selection of sports that are completely free for users who have a bank account with a deposit. In addition, other options include live betting, live scores as well as results, statistics blog, news, Coral Radio, football jackpots, loyalty sections , and a huge range of banking options.

Finally, the online site is excellent for promotions on betting too. In fact, Coral are probably one of the best for offers for not only new players and existing customers as well. They have everything from improved odds to specials on money back however, for the majority of days , there’s something you can get your teeth stuck into.

Coral Connect

Its Coral Connect card is another great addition to the brand. It allows you to place bets online and then collect your winnings in store after the bet has settled. You are able to link your account with any high street bets as well, meaning you can keep track of your winnings within your betting account or visit a store to determine whether you’ve won.

Coral Connect card Coral Connect card can be utilized in any of their 1 800 stores across the UK as well as allowing you to benefit from exclusive in-store and online promotions, bonuses and rewards.

About Coral

The Coral brand was established by Joseph Kagarlitsky, who later changed his name to Joe Coral. Kagarlitsky was born in Poland, when his family relocated to the UK during 1912. Coral follows a similar route to several betting companies in that he actually began working for firms as a runner taking bets on the street and then pacing them within the offices of these companies.

In 1926, he made the decision that it was the right time to go alone, and that’s when the brand name “Coral” was created. Coral began as a bet-taking company, taking bets from a number of racing tracks , and he was able to obtain two tracks in the UK. As the business began to gain traction He purchased his first headquarters in 1943 opening a credit office in London’s West End.

The Coral’s First High Street Shop

Since betting shops became legalized in the year 1961. Coral decided to seize the opportunity to move the business forward, and set up his first high-street shop. In those days, Coral was able to outdo the competition with huge commissions that allowed him to be a massive success thanks to the odds that were offered by Coral.

Traction within London continued to grow and he shifted his focus to casino and bingo halls, as well. In just one year, he already managed to open another 23 betting shops across London and other parts of the UK and beyond.


The first of the many takeovers of the Coral brand was in 1981, when brewing corporation Bass Limited bought Coral for an unspecified sum. While Joe Coral stayed on as CEO of the company his job was to play a minor role in day-to business operations. As the result they were Bass who was determined to really push the company ahead.

The next decade saw the company were to open a another 650 betting outlets, but on top of that, they had huge growth in the gambling, bingo and leisure business, which was due in part because of the presence from Bass PLC within these sectors.

Joe Coral sadly passed away in the year 1991, however his name will always be remembered for his contribution to one of the most successful betting brands in the world. At the time of his passing, Coral was widely thought of as one of the top three bookmakers around the world as well as William Hill and Ladbrokes.

Most of you are familiar with the present sate of play surrounding the merger of Coral and Ladbrokes However, the original buyout proposal was published in 1997. Ladbrokes was planning trying to buy Coral through Bass PLC, but after being brought before the UK Monopolies and Mergers Commission the decision was made that the merger couldn’t proceed as they’d have an unfair advantage over all the competitors.

Gala Coral Merger

It’s also worth noting a bit concerning the Gala brand. Basically it came about as an outcome from Bass PLC, the then owner of Coral which purchased this brand Granada Theatre Limited in 1991 in exchange for a price that was reported to be up to PS141million. The same year, the Gala brand was revived with a fresh image. Then, the year 1997 saw a management buy-in bought all the clubs from Bass for a fee estimated to be in excess of PS235million.

Gala was able to expand its operations over the next few years, buying multiple properties for both casino and bingo. Gala was eventually sold for a price of PS1.24billion at the hands of two private equity companies, Candover and Cinven. The Gala Group then merged the Gala Group and the then Coral Eurobet Group in a deal believed to be worth PS2.15billion in 2005 which makes Gala the third-largest bookmaker and bingo operator in the UK.

Other Mergers and Sales

Two more significant mergers as well as sales took place in 2015 , when it was first announced in 2015 that Caledonia Investments PLC would be buying Gala Bingo Holdings Limited’s brand for PS241 million. Gala Bingo Holdings Limited brand for PS241 million. Then it was announced that Ladbrokes will join forces with Gala Coral in a deal that was worth PS2.3 billion.

The merging of the two brands comes with some issues however It’s likely that they will be forced to close some of their high-street stores in order to conform with their obligations to the Competition and Markets authority. While no deals have been concluded yet, there could be as high as 400 shops in their combined network of more than 4,000.