Coral is one of the United Kingdom’s best known bookmakers, a member of the unofficial Big Three along with Ladbrokes and William Hill that has a major presence on the country’s streets thanks to thousands of licensed betting offices.
Joseph Kagarlitski, a Polish immigrant to the United Kingdom who became better known as Joe Coral, began his bookmaking business in 1926 and, although primarily concerned with operating pitches at racecourses, he opened his first credit office in London’s West End in 1943.
Coral’s founder died in 1996 but not before the bookmaker that bears his nickname had become the United Kingdom’s third largest retail bookmaking business with a market share of approximately 20 per cent. Just three years later, the company entered the world of online bookmaking by purchasing United Kingdom-based, Italy-facing Eurobet. To this day, they are a serious player in both British and Italian markets.
In the rest of this review we will look at Coral’s betting options, its bonuses, its security and licensing, how it treats professional and recreational punters and its banking practices, before providing an executive summary.
Coral is a British bookmaker at heart and it shows in its range of gambling choices, with football, horse racing and greyhound racing receiving top billing and being easiest to find.
Most football matches attract more than 100 different markets so only the fussiest punter – one who wants to bet on the blade of grass from which the last goal of the game is scored – will find the need to bet elsewhere most of the time. They don’t cover every football competition in the world but it does bet on the ones that matter to most punters so its service is of the required standard.
Coral owns a couple of greyhound racing stadia in the United Kingdom – Brighton and Hove Greyhound Stadium and Romford Greyhound Stadium – so it knows what punters who want to bet on dog races want, while it is committed to providing a premium horse racing betting service to complement its sponsorship of several big races, including the Eclipse Stakes at Sandown Park. Recent Eclipse Stakes winners include Nathaniel, Sea The Stars and So You Think.
One can bet in-play with Coral using the live betting part of its website. Graphically, the live system does not hold a candle to the offerings of many of its direct competitors and its range of betting options is relatively small. But for the average British or Italian sports punter, Coral’s in-play product is okay.
Bonuses On Display
Coral offers a £50 free bet to new members of the UK website, with the online bookmaker matching the stake of one’s first sports bet up to the maximum amount in the form of a token. Unfortunately, the offer is only available to residents of the United Kingdom and Ireland but, on the bright side, it is not subject to the kind of turnover requirements that diminish the value of many bonuses.
When one accesses Coral’s membership form it becomes very apparent that the online bookmaker does not do business with most of the world. The territories from which it accepts clients are Aland Islands, Albania, Argentina, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Finland, Georgia, Germany, Gibraltar, Guernsey, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, the Isle of Man, Jersey, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Russia, St Kitts and Nevis, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
Also, Coral allows new clients to open accounts in only one of four currencies – American dollars, British pounds, Swedish krona or euros. If one lives outside Europe, this is probably not an online bookmaker to consider seriously.
Security and Licensing
Coral’s online betting operation is licensed in Gibraltar and regulated by the Gibraltar Gambling Commissioner. One can bet safely here. Gibraltar has been synonymous with offshore finance and gambling for many years, while the bookmaker’s reputation in the United Kingdom is beyond reproach.
Professional Versus Recreational Punters
Like its Big Three cousins, Coral tries to be all things to all punters. Because of its conspicuous presence in British towns and cities, most of it’s offline clients are small fish whose stakes are low but whose frequency is high. The average betting shop punter does not come close to breaking the maximum liability limit on most markets.
In reality, Coral is better suited to recreational punters than professional punters but that is not to say that the bookmaker will not cop a big bet, particularly on football and horse racing which are its key product offerings.
They offer a wide range of ways in which to deposit money into one’s account, including credit cards, debit cards and e-wallet services such as Neteller, PayPal and Skrill. None of them attract any charges, all of them are instantaneous and the minimum deposit level is set at just Â£5. As touched upon above, Coral allows new clients to open accounts in only one of four currencies – American dollars, British pounds, Swedish krona or euros – which is disappointing.
Withdrawing money from Coral is just as straightforward as depositing money. Most of the withdrawal methods take three to five working days, although bank transfers and PayPal are instantaneous. The minimum withdrawal is only €/£1.
Coral did not become one of the United Kingdom’s Big Three bookmakers by accident. It is a rock-solid, professional company that has contributed considerably to the world of offline gambling over the past couple of decades. It is not the online betting market leader and it is heavily focused on a handful of European countries but, if one lives in Ireland, Italy or the United Kingdom, it is a good pick.