Coral, as part of the Gala Coral Group, is one of the largest betting networks in Europe, with a significant presence in both the UK and Italy (coincidentally two of the continent’s most prominent gambling regions). A conservative estimate puts their UK market share somewhere around the 20% mark.
While most of the ‘back room’ activities are now coordinated in Gibraltar, parts of Coral’s operation are undertaken in Stratford, London, and with nearly 1800 licensed betting shops in the UK we’re happy to call them a domestic bookmaker.
Coral offer all of the services you would expect from a hybrid sportsbook operating both online and on the high street, although they were the originator of the ‘single shared wallet’ platform – called Coral Connect in this case, which enables customers to bet online but collect their real cash winnings from a high street shop.
Odds & Markets
Quality of odds is, naturally, one of the key components when selecting a bookmaker, and happily Coral come up with the goods in this department – although, be warned, it’s not across the sporting spectrum.
We ran an experiment across two key sports in the betting portfolio – horse racing and football – and investigated two key markets within these: the typical English Premier League gameweek and a big meeting at Aintree. The results were mixed…..
Of the four races we looked at as part of the Aintree meeting, Coral were noticeably amongst the leading bookmakers. For the favourites, they were often the best price or certainly amongst the best, although they were left behind by some of the competition when pricing up the outsiders; they weren’t as generous here.
We then took the ten Premier League fixtures and compared prices for all 20 teams involved against the odds set by other mainstream UK bookmakers. Coral were best price – or equal to it – for just two of the teams. That’s a rather paltry 10%.
The good news is that Coral covers all of the key markets and many more to boot. In fact, for your standard top flight football match there’s some 138 markets to explore, and these include some rare beasts including Man of the Match (for televised matches), Wincast and Scorecast, alas a mark is lost for the absence of Asian handicaps.
But there is a good diversity here and extensive coverage: the darkest corners of the globe are covered across football, tennis, basketball and cricket.
It’s a busy old bee, is the Coral website, but once the initial feeling of ‘holy moly where is everything?’ wears off you’ll actually be left with a sense of ‘hmm, what was I so confused about’.
Like many of their competitors, Coral have opted for the ‘thirds’ layout to their site. So if you fire up their homepage, you’ll note that it is split into three distinct sections vertically. On the left-hand side is the key navigation: an A-Z of available sports plus quick links to all of the featured action. In the centre of the page is the live platform, with links to in-plays, next races, action starting soon etc. And on the right-hand side is the betslip, the live streaming window, enhanced odds & specials, offers and promotions. When you get used to this, everything becomes so much clearer.
The site is nice and fast with minimal page loading woes (depending on the strength of your internet connection of course), and there’s even minimal lagging experienced in the in-play zone too. The live streaming service is as smooth as silk.
If you prefer to place your bets via a smartphone or tablet then you have two options: Coral have rescaled their main website for mobile browsers, so you can access a sort of miniaturised version that works nicely (although it does require plenty of ‘zooming in’ when using a touchscreen device). Alternatively, you could always download the Coral app, which bears many of the hallmarks of the main site: it’s busy to look at and slightly clunky, but after a period of adjustment becomes second nature.
Any good bookmaker worth its salt is judged upon the quality and quantity of features that it provides to players. Coral is well-stacked in this department, and here are some of the highlights:
- In-Play Betting – a veritable smorgasbord of in-play markets await you at Coral. Get involved in some Algerian Division 2 football as you wait for your ITF Futures tennis bet to come in. Basketball, ice hockey, volleyball and even water polo; if you can wager on it, you can in-play it with Coral.
- Rapid Fire Markets – these are a pretty cool innovation that remain unique to Coral. These markets are exclusive to in-play punters, and offer quick-as-a-whip enhancements on key selections as an event is unfolding. Be quick though: when they’re gone, they’re gone!
- Live Streaming – more than 2,000 events each week are available for streaming via the Coral website: there’s top football from across Europe courtesy of La Liga, Serie A, Ligue 1 and Eredivisie, action from the ATP and WTA tennis tours, UK & Ireland horse racing and tons more besides.
- Cash Out – most of the larger markets are covered by this magnificent feature, and you will notice on your betslip whether the orange ‘Cash Out’ button is present. If you’re lucky it might be joined by its blue sibling ‘Partial Cash Out’, which enables you to take some of the money away with you and leave the rest to play out as God intended.
- Football Jackpot – predict the outcome of 15 selected matches correctly and trouser the £100,000 jackpot. What could be simpler? Okay, so it’s not that easy. But you’ve got to be in it to win it as they say, and there has already been some huge winners in the history of this feature for just as little as a 25p stake.
- Coral Connect – we’ve touched upon this already, but it bears repeating. Bet online and pick up your winnings from a Coral shop. You know, as in real cash in your hands!
Banking, Payouts & Limits
It’s easy to deposit/withdraw funds into and out of your online account courtesy of Coral, and as you might expect all transactions are covered by the most stringent encryption technologies available.
We can quantify the payment methods that Coral accept in four broad categories: cards (both Visa and MasterCard debit and credit cards are accepted), e-wallet systems (PayPal, Skrill, Neteller and eco), voucher payments (paysafecard) and cold, hard cash (Coral Connect).
The minimum deposit required to get stuck in at Coral is £5.
The minimum stake amount for single bets is £1, although this is set at a far more generous 10p for multiples.
While we couldn’t find a maximum stake amount within Coral’s terms & conditions or indeed lurking anywhere else in the dusty corners of their website, do note the Payout Limit below and factor this into your staking plan.
The maximum return that Coral will payout is £1,000,000 for UK & Ireland horse racing covered by Coral TV, as it is for ‘Grade One’ football (English leagues, Bundesliga, La Liga etc). If this ever becomes an issue with your betting then fair play to you!
If we’re comparing UK bookmakers to Hollywood movies (and there’s barely a day goes by when we don’t) then we’ll call Coral – or more accurately their operating firm Candover Investments – Predator.
Why? Well, they have a wonderful habit of taking out their competition, consuming them whole and then masticating them into an arm of the business that becomes an integral part of the brand. So, for example, Coral merged with Gala (who run a world-famous bingo division, amongst other things) to become the Gala Coral Group. From there they merged with Eurobet and – latterly – Ladbrokes.
Today, Coral are the third largest retail bookmaking business in the UK, and they are cutting into the online market courtesy of their rigorous TV advertising campaign on match days.
They have moved much of their operation to tax haven Gibraltar, although a significant UK presence is still observed courtesy of their offices in Nottingham, Stratford and Woking.
It’s all a long way from Coral’s humble beginnings way back in 1926, when Joe Coral borrowed some money off his local cafe owner to start up his own betting firm at the nearby greyhound track at Harringay. Joe opened his first licensed premises in 1961 – one of the first to take advantage of the relaxed legislation of the time. To this day, they remain one of the few bookmakers with outlets in both Gatwick and Stansted Airport (in amongst their 1700 or so others.
Coral are the official betting partner of Norwich City FC and sponsor a full racing card at Leopardstown each January, with the Coral.ie Hurdle being the clear standout. And they have been rewarded for their excellence in the bookmaking field too, scooping the prestigious Operator of the Year and Best Social Media Campaign gongs at the EGR Awards in 2015, plus the less catchy Socially Responsible Operator of the Year trophy at the Gaming Intelligence Awards in 2016.
As you’d expect from a frontline bookmaker like Coral, it is a piece of cake to access support should you need it. You can contact their customer support team in the following ways:
- Phone (Online Account Assistance) – 0800 44 0011
- Phone (Shop-Based Customer Support) – 0800 169 0299
- Post – Gala Coral Group, New Castle House, Castle Boulevard, Nottingham, NG7 1FT
- Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Fax – 0115 851 7536