Coral Bookmaker is a formerly well-known UK bookmaking brand. Once part of the ‘Big Three’ of British retail bookmaking, it is now part of a portfolio of brands owned by GVC Holdings Plc, all of which have lost trust and credibility under the current ownership. GVC hides part of Corals’ profits from the tax man via its offshore company structure. Coral is now a badly-run betting company with a history of ignoring contractual arrangements.
OPINION: Coral Bookmaker has been run into the ground by a dishonest parent company, GVC. There have been many player complaints about Coral. These include slow payment, rapid limiting of stakes and surly customer service. GVC have also been dishonest with business partners, altering contractual arrangements at will. We can not recommend this, or any GVC brand, to punters. It would be reckless of JustBookies to approve a firm where profiteering is profligate.
Coral Bookmaker Review & History
The bookmaking brand Coral has changed hands many times, including to various venture capital firms. In our view its current owners (GVC Holdings Plc) are its worst. Under GVC’s CEO, the shameless self-promoter and publicity-seeker Kenny Alexander, Coral has lost its integrity. That was one the one thing it had previously managed to maintain until 2020.
While its bricks and mortar betting shop business may have been competently managed, Coral had made some poor decisions where its online business was concerned. As a result they lost some headway in the betting lands of the world wide web. Coral got into the position of having several unconnected online brands with no strong identity. In a bid to rectify this they closed their Eurobet online operation in September 2011 in order to push the online betting brand.
Coral was purchased by Gala in 2005 to form Gala Coral. It brought the bricks and mortar, land-based bingo halls and casinos of Gala together with the high street betting shops and online presence of Coral.
Gala Coral are proud possessors of 180 bingo halls and 31 casinos and over 1600 retail betting shops. In addition there are a couple of dog tracks at Hove and Romford. The bricks and mortar bingo operations were badly undermined by the rapid growth of online bingo. Ironically it was not Gala Coral who exploited this at all.
This is a firm with a long history and it was a famous brand, particularly in the UK. The current Coral bookies’ website uses Playtech software. It did launch with some major teething problems as casino software giant Playtech had not done sports betting before. It was obvious nobody had done the necessary testing and so they went live with so many bugs, including the fact it wouldn’t work with one of the main browsers. Coral allowed themselves to be somewhat of a guinea pig.
They have moved away to better software, but have lost their way in terms of competent management. The feeling is that the cutomer is not there to be serviced and cared for, but rather to be fleeced.
Joseph Kagarlitski who founded this bookmaker in 1926 and pragmatically changed his name to the more pronounceable Joe Coral in the process, will be turning in his grave when he sees how GVC Holdings Plc have treated his brand like a cash-cow at the chief expense of honesty and reputation. Those were two qualities Joe Coral treasured. The fact customer care and good service is at the bottom of the priorities for all GVC brands is a crying shame. Now Joe’s eponymous fake name is attached to a second-rate online betting operation who’s parent company’s sole aim is the self-aggrandisement of its duplicitous and dictatorial CEO, Kenny Alexander.
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I worked for coral for one year in head office. I came across a memo that was to be sent to the Philippines to the customer service branch now based out there. It was advising managers to tell the people manning the phones "don't be worried about using false English names as it can make the gambler more trusting of you with an English name." Also a second memo telling British staff to go to other bookmakers to convince "mugs" to come to coral to play Fixed Odds Betting Terminals. Also the most shocking memo was telling Coral managers to see customers as quote scum! I was flabbergasted. A manager caught me reading these memos and I was promptly suspended and then subsequently sacked.
Site is slow when big events are on. Menus have been changed and it is less intuitive. Coral have limited or reduced my betting stakes many times. Coral has the potential to be a good site but it is badly run and their trading department is staffed with pathetic cowards. Gambling Commission should get off their useless fat arses, stop making soundbites to the media and sort out those bookmakers that refuse to lay a bet - starting with Coral and moving swiftly on to useless SkyBet. Coral and their equally abysmal sister firm Ladbrokes should be made to take a bet at their advertised odds, or what is the point of them?
I went into my local Corals today to place a bet of Tottenham to win 4-0. I put £10 on this and she gave me the odds of 10-1. When i went to collect my winnings of £110 i was told she done the wrong odds and it was only 9-1. Personally i wont be going in there again.
Their site's a bit slow compared to the others I use but you get there in the end. Never had any problems betting-wise over several years although I do have a loss-making account so unless my luck changes I don't envisage any.
I think Corals is becoming one of the most corrupt bookies out there. If you are not a loss-making customer then you are no good for them. They have turned off my best odds and I got no explanation for this. They stopped me from having free bets because I always win on them. They stole my last tenner by sending me false information offering a free bet. I bet the stake and got told over the phone that the free bet is not valid for my account. When I asked why he told me, sorry sir I can not tell you that!
Thank you for your feedback. We are sorry to hear about this. It is bad practice by Coral, but it is standard behaviour in the industry. All the bookies do it. Winning customers are first barred from the special offers and then have their limits cut so they can only place small bets. Then ultimately they might have their betting accounts closed. The governing body is the Gambling Commission (GC), who issue the bookmaker licenses. The GC ought to set criteria whereby none of this can happen, as they do in Australia. Unfortunately the GC is poorly managed with little knowledge and appear only to care about collecting their license fees. They could do something about this but they do not. Nevertheless, you could make a complaint to them - their contact details are on their website.
Coral are a bookies that have improved no end. Having tried most of the big names, I have stuck with this firm and do not anticipate moving on. Surprised at how good they are for sports betting.
Coral is my bookmaker of choice at the moment. They seem better than most others. Paddy Power & Ladbrokes started to reduce my bets (and don't get me started on Stan James) but Coral has been good. One tip - if you need to withdraw over a grand, do it £900 at a time. If it is over a grand it takes longer as they manually take a look at it which delays the withdrawal.
I bet on sports with Coral the whole time. I have had my account closed at a couple of bookies and I can not get much of a bet on at many others. They offer a service for small stakes only but Coral is different. I can get much bigger stake sizes on with them and they have not yet limited me. If it is too big for them then it goes to a trader, but they appear to do their best to take the bet. I bet a few hundred quid on say a 5/1 shot, so that is the level I am talking about. It is the level most other online bookies will not play, especially if you have backed a winner or two before. Sure the Coral software is less reliable in the sense the site does even now seem to struggle for the major events when there is a huge demand - Grand National day this year again - that still needs to be sorted out. All other times they have become my No.1 choice.
Impressed, glad I gave Coral a try. Telephone customer service was helpful too.
I have noticed difficulties on big events. This years Cheltenham and then the Grand National was a mini disaster for Coral, their site plainly could not cope. They seem to have an inferior system to the other really big bookmakers, with a few oddities in their system, and hopefully those issues will be looked into. On a day to day basis they are fine.
Yes they use Playtech software, currently slightly inferior to other sports betting systems. Hopefully these issues on big days will be solved in the future as it is costing Coral business. It is a good firm though.