Coral is the fastest growing bookmaker in Britain, and currently has 1876 betting shops as of 1 December 2008. In addition, a bid for the 540 totesport shops has been tabled.
Joe Coral began his bookmaking business in 1926 operating betting pitches at greyhound courses. His great friend, Tom Bradbury-Pratt ran speedway meetings at Harringay and a number of other venues. He, and Joe Coral, went on to establish many speedway and greyhound tracks and Joe was one of the first bookmakers to take advantage of the 1960 legalisation of off-course betting shops and opened his first shop in 1961.
Coral was acquired by Bass in January 1981, by which time Coral was one of the largest leisure groups in the United Kingdom, comprising approximately 650 betting shops, two greyhound stadia, social clubs, casinos, hotels and holiday camps. Although the betting shops and stadia retained the Coral name, the other operations were integrated into Bass.
In December 1997 Ladbrokes acquired Coral from Bass. However, the acquisition was referred to the UK Monopolies and Mergers Commission and they concluded in September 1998 that Ladbrokes should not be allowed to retain ownership of Coral (however they were allowed to keep Coral’s betting offices in the Channel Islands and integrated these into their own retail division).Coral Group was then sold in a management buy-out backed by Morgan Grenfell Private Equity in February 1999. At the end of 1999 Eurobet, an internet betting business was acquired and the Group’s name was changed to Coral Eurobet.
The Coral Eurobet Group was then sold in a further management buy-out in September 2002 which was backed by Charterhouse Development Capital.
Coral owns two greyhound racing stadia in Britain, at Romford and Hove. Coral also operates betting shops at three of Britain’s biggest racecourses – Cheltenham, Epsom, and Sandown Park (venue of the company sponsored ‘Coral Eclipse’ race) , plus one each at Gatwick Airport (South Terminal) and Stansted Airport.
Coral also operates an online casino at www.coralcasino.com and an online gaming site at www.coralgames.co.uk and an online poker site at www.coralpoker.com
Coral was the first major UK Bookmaker to sign to Turf TV on 22 December 2007.
Coral also owns a Squash and gym club at Hove.
Coral employs over 11000 betting shop staff within the UK.
- Website: www.coral.co.uk
- Customer service: 0800 440011