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About Coral Bookmakers

There are just a few names associated with gambling and sports betting industry that still exist across the UK high streets today However, one name that most certainly still reigns supreme is Coral.

The company was not even established in 1920, but by the year 2020 Coral had grown to become one of the most recognisable brands in the sphere. How did the name and its famous white on blue logo come to become so famous?

Like many other companies operating in the industry of gambling – and in many other areas of business, Coral was founded in a smaller way. In the case of Coral the beginnings and later expansion of the business can be attributed to just one man, Joseph Kagarlitsky… however, more on him in the future.

The scale of the business isn’t all that has changed over the years. The nature of the company’s operations has also changed dramatically over the years. It is gone are the days of long-winded credit betting and unsavory backstreet operations, with Coral today being one of the most modern and well-known names in the betting industry. It doesn’t matter if you are betting on sports bingo, sports betting, or any other action that gets your betting blood flowing Coral has the potential to be relied on to provide top-quality product and excellent customer service.

Due to the effort of a Polish immigrant way back in the 20th century, Coral has enjoyed a century of growth, and this is the story of the journey that was taken by one of the biggest players in the game of gambling.

1926: Established By Joe Coral

The first person we will look at is the name of Joseph Kagarlitski, born in Warsaw in 1904, however, the man claimed to be as a Russian as his father was originally from Kiev (presumably that is of Russian descent). He was a Jewish Immigrant from Britain, UK, Joseph changed his name to the more snappy Joe Coral (he could probably have been a funk singer!) because he believed it could aid in the pursuit of employment. Why Coral? The reason isn’t particularly significant, it seems, with the choice allegedly being down because his mother was reading a book entitled Coral Island at the time.

You can find Coral closing times at this website.

Young Joe was not a big fan of the school environment, often playing in truant until he left at the age of 14 years old, though that was not unusual in those days. In the beginning, he was employed at two lamp makers and an advertising firm, Joe’s flair for mathematics and passion for gambling led him to a new direction.

In his first step into the business as a bookie’s run, it didn’t take too long until Joe Coral began taking bets himself. At first, he noticed a trend in and around local billiard clubs, he soon started setting up his own track at Harringay and White City greyhound tracks. Harringay as well as the White City greyhound tracks – later expanding to Clapton and Walthamstow.

The greyhound pitch, in addition to running an event for speedway players at Harringay was the legal aspect of Joe’s operation. However, the murky – and illegal – world of street betting appears to have been much of Coral’s business during these early years. By 1930 Joe was said to have as many as 80 agents in order to take bets on his behalf.

The combination mentioned above resulted in Joe Coral becoming known as one of the biggest regional bookmakers in the country by the end of the 1930’s.

1941: Establishes a Credit Office in Stoke Newington

Given the rapid growth in the world of trade, Coral was going to need a base of operations. The first offices of the company that were mostly concerned with the credit betting business, were based in Stoke Newington in north London. After the First World War though these were relocated into the city’s West End.

1945: Advertising begins in The National Sporting Papers

Experienced in the business of advertising, Joe Coral wasn’t about to miss out on the chance to build the brand name of his business as well as reach new customers through ads in the press.

It was legal to promote the credit-card betting services offered by the business in newspapers like The Sporting Chronicle and the Sporting Life at the time since no money changed hands during postal betting the service – just cheques and postal orders.

1961: Opens first LBO

1960 was the biggest turning point in the history of gambling in Britain in the early days and possibly even still today. In 1960 that it was that the Betting and Gaming Act was passed. The most important aspect of the law was the legalisation of off-course betting.

Initially, he was opposed to the new law due to concerns about the type of customer it could draw, Joe Coral seemingly didn’t have to wait long to overcome the doubts and make a change of mind, as he opened his first high street betting shop in 1961. in 1962 had 23 establishments under the Coral umbrella.

1963: The PLC becomes A

The high-street betting shop segment of the company now experiencing a period of substantial expansion and expansion, it was decided to establish Coral as a public limited company.

Around this time, the company began to spread its wings in terms of expanding into other industries like bingo halls as well as casino and hotel markets.

1971: Merges with the Bookmaker Mark Lane

The company further solidified its place to the British betting sector through a merger with Mark Lane bookmakers. The new company kept its more snappy Coral moniker but this early takeover/merger was a hint of the future.

1973: The Sponsorship of the Welsh Grand National For The First Time

Coral has been a long-time fan of the product, which has proven to be such an important factor in its business success. British horse racing was a huge part of the revenue of Coral, particularly in its early years, and the company sponsored a variety of events throughout the year both on the flat and over jumps.

The longest running of these arrangements – actually the longest-running sponsorship agreement in all of sports – is the firm’s relationship to Chepstow’s Welsh Grand National, which initially offered support to in 1973.

1979: Now renamed the Coral Leisure Group

The estate of betting shops was growing – reaching about 650 shops in 1979 and 650 shops by 1979 Coral continued to demonstrate an impressive determination to dip its toe into different markets. Alongside bingo halls, casinos and hotels in the meantime, the Coral umbrella now encompassed the real estate market, squash club, and Pontins camp for holiday guests.

To reflect this wider portfolio The company’s portfolio was expanded to reflect the diversity of its customers. that the company’s name was changed to reflect this. firm and change it to Coral Leisure Group.

1981: Acquired from Bass Plc.

The company’s growth in 1981 saw it be noticed by one of Britain’s biggest and longest-running breweries, with Bass Plc stepping in to buy Coral in exchange for a largely unpublicized amount. Although now falling firmly under the management and ownership of Bass however, the new owners chose to leave the distinctive Coral brand in place. Bass may have been the oldest trademark in the world but they knew the Coral name was appropriate for gambling.

1994: Agreement to the Tote

The likes of the tote placepot and jackpot have always been among the most popular types of horse racing bets in the UK However, previously, they only been accessible on tracks or at a Tote-owned betting shop. Recognising that it was failing to cash in on the popularity of these popular bets, 1992 saw Coral agree with Tote which allowed the previous company to offer Tote products available in their shops for betting.

1998: Sold to Ladbrokes …Briefly

The following takeover in the Coral chronology nearly happened in 1998 as fellow betting giant Ladbrokes purchased the company at an eye-catching PS363m. The initial merger of the two businesses was an event that was short-lived but it did happen.

Afraid of the monopolies and mergers commission The new owners were forced to sell Coral quickly. Ladbrokes retained 59 stores in Ireland and Jersey however the remainder of the business was sold in the direction of Morgan Grenfell Private Equity for PS390million in 1999.

1999: Eurobet Buys Eurobet

In order to expand its presence in the online market, Coral opted to purchase the Gibraltar-based Eurobet for PS7.1m in the early part of the century. This was due to the combination of Coral’s bookmaking experience and Eurobet’s well-established product which was specialized in betting on football and was found to be a perfect fit.

2000 Changes its name to Coral Eurobet

In recognition of its recent acquisition, the company changed its name to Coral Eurobet in May 2000.

2002: Sold in Management Buyout

Another takeover took place just two years after the September 2002. In this case, it was a management buyout variety, an initiative backed by Charterhouse Development Capital.

2005: Bought By Gala

2005 witnessed the largest acquisition to date, with the PS2.18bn that was paid to Gala as a great indicator of just how far the company had grown in the latter part of the 1990s, and the way the industry was developing.

Already a strong presence in the bricks and mortar bingo and casino markets, this was to be a natural move for Gala which created the newly-named Gala Coral Group as Britain’s biggest bingo operator, and the third largest bookmaker.

The Eurobet part of the business was also maintainedand continues as a separate entity from the main Coral operation.

2007: Sponsors Scottish Grand National For The First Time

Already having a long running arrangement with one of Britain’s most prestigious steeplechases in the form of the Welsh Grand National, 2007 saw Coral offer its support to the Ayr’s Scottish version of this race, for the first-time.

2009: Coral TV Established

2009 saw a dramatic shift in the production of Coral’s media as the company moved its broadcasting operations into a brand new, specifically-built studio in Milton Keynes in order to support the launch of Coral TV, a new media product that will be broadcast throughout the company’s betting shop estate and on the internet.

2010: Coral Dugout Launched

Coral moved the boat even further in 2010 ahead of Football World Cup, with its latest offering in media,”the “Coral Dugout”. With big names like including Jeff Stelling and Graham Poll, the firm aimed to improve its depth of coverage ahead of one of the most important betting on sports events on the planet.

2011: Purchases New Offices and launches Gala Interactive

The pattern of improving the company’s facilities continued in 2011, when they Gala Coral group shelled out the enormous amount of PS1.45billion for the purchase of 30,793 square feet of brand new workspace in Stratford City.

This year also brought about the beginning of a new approach to the company’s online offering. Having previously operated a slightly scatter-gunned approach, the launch of Gala Interactive as the company’s online division saw the offering streamlined into three separate websites: Coral, Gala Bingo, and Gala Casino – in addition to the Italian-market-focussed

2012: Sells Off Casinos To Rank

2012 saw the company cast off its land-based casinos The 23 properties sold to Rank for PS205million in the year 2012 as reported to the BBC at the time.

The year 2015 is the Year of Coral Connect Card. Coral Connect Card Launched

With product integration becoming one of the major focuses of the betting industry – due to the huge increase in online betting – Coral was among the early movers in making an effort to tie its different products together with the 2015 launch of the Coral Connect Card. This meant that customers could now bet in a shop via their telephone or online accounts.

Providing a single wallet solution, the card enabled customers to withdraw money from, as well as deposits to their online accounts in the shop, in addition to coming with a handy betting tracker app as well as a variety of special offers and perks.

2015: Bingo Clubs Sold

Following the sale of the land-based casino branch of the business Further streamlining took place through the selling of the 130 Gala Bingo clubs the business was then owned by Caledonia Investments for PS241m.

2016: Acquired By Ladbrokes …Again

If at first you don’t succeed! Eight years after first falling under the control of Ladbrokes and only briefly two of the giants of the British betting market finally joined forces proper in the year 2016. Crucially on this occasion the firms followed the guidelines of the mergers and monopolies commission prior to finalizing the deal – selling off in around 400 shops, mainly for Betfred and Stan James.

After all legal boxes were cleared, the agreement was approved on 2 November 2016 with the new entity going under its name Ladbrokes Coral Plc. While now operating as one entity from an Plc perspective however, the company made the decision to retain Ladbrokes as well as Coral as separate entities from the perspective of users considering that both were strong enough brands to thrive.

The year 2018 is: GVC buys Ladbrokes Coral

It seems like we are never far from a merger of some sort The month of March 2018 saw newly-formed Ladbrokes Coral Group taken over by the betting and gaming huge GVC Holdings, in a deal estimated to cost more than PS4bn.

Further details about this new acquisition can be found on the corporate GVC website. Already holding the likes of Bwin, Sportingbet and partypoker, GVC Holdings are now undoubtedly one of the biggest players in the worldwide betting market, although even another consolidation should not be considered in the near future.