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Who Was Joe Coral?

There are a handful of names that are associated with betting on sports and gambling industry that are still present in the UK high streets today One name that is certain to be a king is Coral.

The company was barely established in 1920, but in the year 2020, Coral was one of the most recognized brands in the world. How did the name and iconic white-on-blue logo rise to be so well-known?

Like many other companies that operate in the field of gambling – as well as in other fields of business, Coral was founded in a smaller way. In the case of Coral the beginnings and later expansion of the business can be traced to one man, Joseph Kagarlitsky… however, we’ll get to him later.

The size of the company isn’t all that has changed in the past. The way in which the company conducts its operations has also changed significantly throughout the years. The days of difficult credit betting and shady backstreet operations, with Coral becoming one of the most modern and reputable brands in the world of betting. If it’s sports betting or bingo, or any other casino actions that get your gambling flow, Coral is a name you can count on for top-quality products and outstanding customer service.

Click here for Coral closing times.

Through the efforts of a Polish immigrants 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 most prominent players in the game of gambling.

1926: Established By Joe Coral

We start with the name of Joseph Kagarlitski, born in Warsaw in 1904, but the man claimed to be an Russian since his father was originally from Kiev (presumably from Russian origin). He was a Jewish immigrants into UK, Joseph was a Jewish immigrant to UK, Joseph changed his name to a more snarky Joe Coral (he could probably be a funk musician!) because he believed it could aid in the pursuit of work. Why Coral? There is no real reason behind this is apparent, and the reason attributed on the possibility that his sister had been reading a book titled Coral Island at the time.

Young Joe did not enjoy going to school, frequently playing in truant until he left at the age of 14 years old, though that was not uncommon in the days before. In the beginning, he was employed at the lamp manufacturing company as well as an advertising firm Joe’s love of math and a love for betting led him to a new direction.

Making his first foray into the business as a bookie’s runner it didn’t take too long until Joe Coral began taking bets himself. At first, he noticed a trend in and surrounding local billiard clubs, he soon started running his own pitch on Harringay and White City greyhound tracks. Harringay as well as the White City greyhound tracks – later expanding to Clapton and Walthamstow.

The greyhound tracks as well as the running of an event for speedway players at Harringay was the legal part of Joe’s business. However, the murky and illegal world of street betting appears to have been the majority of Coral’s operations in the early days. In 1930, Joe was said to have employed as many as 80 agents in order to take bets for him.

All mentioned above resulted in Joe Coral becoming known as one of the biggest regional bookmakers in America at the close of the 1930’s.

1941: Established a Credit Office in Stoke Newington

Due to the rapid growth in the world of trade, Coral was going to require a headquarters. The first offices of the company that were mostly concerned with the credit betting business were located within Stoke Newington in north London. At the time of the First World War though these were relocated into the city’s West End.

1945: Advertising begins in the National Sporting Papers

With a few years of experience in the field of advertising, Joe Coral wasn’t about to pass up the chance to build the brand name of his business and attract new customers with advertising in the press.

It was legal to promote the service of postal credit betting that the company offered in magazines like The Sporting Chronicle and the Sporting Life in the present since no money changed hands during postal betting the service – just cheques and postal orders.

1961: Opens first LBO

1960 was the biggest event in the history of gaming in Britain in the early days and perhaps even today. In 1960 when it was that the Betting and Gaming Act was adopted. The most important aspect of the act was its legalization of off-course cash betting.

Initially, he was against the new law because of concerns about the kind of customers they could attract, Joe Coral seemingly didn’t need long to overcome these doubts and change his decision, when he launched his first high-street betting shop in the year 1961. He in 1962, he had 23 establishments operating under Coral’s umbrella. Coral umbrella.

1963: A PLC is formed.

The high-street betting shop segment of the company currently experiencing an era of significant expansion The decision was made to incorporate Coral as an open-ended public limited company.

Around this time, the company began to expand its wings by expanding into different sectors such as bingo halls casino, hotel, and bingo hall markets.

1971: Joins With fellow bookmaker Mark Lane

The company also strengthened its place within the British betting market through the merger with Mark Lane bookmakers. The new company retained the more snazzy Coral name, but this 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 patron of the product that has proved to be an important factor in its business success. British horse racing was an enormous portion of the company’s revenue, particularly in the beginning, and the company also sponsored numerous races throughout the year, both on the flat as well as over jumps.

The longest-running of these agreements – and in fact, the longest-running sponsorship agreement in all of sport is the company’s partnership to Chepstow’s Welsh Grand National, which it first offered its support to in 1973.

1979: Now renamed”the Coral Leisure Group

The betting shop estate was growing – reaching around 650 shops by 1979 Then Coral continued to display an impressive determination to dip its feet into other markets. Alongside bingo halls, casinos, and hotels in the meantime, the Coral umbrella also now covered the real estate market, squash club, as well as Pontins holidays camps.

To better reflect the more diverse portfolio to better reflect this portfolio, the company made the decision to change the title of the company in order to reflect the Coral Leisure Group.

1981: Acquired by the Bass Plc

The company’s growth in 1981 saw it get the attention of one of the UK’s largest and longest-running breweries, which was Bass Plc stepping in to purchase Coral for a non-publicized price. While now under the management and ownership of Bass the new owners decided to keep the well-known Coral brand name in place. Bass might have been the oldest trademark in the world, but they were aware that the Coral name was the right one to be used for betting.

1994: Agreement to the Tote

The tote placepot and the jackpot have for a long time been among the most popular kinds of horse racing bets in the UK however, they had only been offered on the tracks or in a Tote-owned betting shop. Realizing that it was not able to profit from their popularity, popular bets, in 1992 Coral come to an agreement with the Tote that allowed the former company to offer Tote products available at the betting stores.

1998: Sold to Ladbrokes …Briefly

The next acquisition in the Coral chronology was almost in 1998 when fellow betting giant Ladbrokes bought the Coral company for an eye-catching PS363m. The initial merger of the two companies proved to be to be a brief affair However, it was a successful one.

In violation of the mergers and monopolies commission The new owners were required to sell Coral quickly. Ladbrokes retained 59 stores located in Ireland and Jersey however the remainder of the business was sold into Morgan Grenfell Private Equity for PS390 million in 1999.

1999: Eurobet buys Eurobet

In order to expand its presence on the internet, Coral opted to purchase the Gibraltar-based Eurobet for PS7.1m in the early part of the century. The purchase was based on the combination of Coral’s bookmaking experience and Eurobet’s well-established product that specialized in football bettingand was deemed to be a perfect fit.

2000: The company’s name is changed to Coral Eurobet

In celebration of the recent acquisition, Coral Eurobet was renamed Coral Eurobet in May 2000.

2002: Sold to Management Buyout

Another takeover was announced two years later in September 2002. This time it was a management buyout type, an arrangement backed by Charterhouse Development Capital.

2005: Purchased By Gala

2005 witnessed the largest deal to be taken over, with the PS2.18bn that was paid to Gala providing a clear indication of how the company had grown in the end of the 1990s and the direction the industry was headed.

With a solid presence in bingo bricks and mortar and market for casinos, this was an appropriate move for Gala and has created the newly-named Gala Coral Group to be the UK’s largest bingo operator and the third-largest bookmaker.

The Eurobet division of the business was also kept running as an independent entity from the Coral operation. Coral operation.

2007. Sponsors Scottish Grand National For The First Time

Already in a long-running agreement in conjunction with Britain’s most prestigious steeplechases, the Welsh Grand National, 2007 saw Coral offer its support to the Ayr’s Scottish edition of the event for the very first time.

2009: Coral TV Established

The year 2009 witnessed a significant change in the media output of Coral and the company relocated its broadcasting operations into an entirely new and specifically-built studio in Milton Keynes in order to help launch Coral TV, a new media service that will be broadcast throughout the company’s betting shop estate as well as online.

2010. Coral Dugout Launched

Coral has pushed the boat out even further in 2010 ahead of the Football World Cup, with its most recent media offering,”Coral Dugout. “Coral Dugout”. In bringing in famous names such that of Jeff Stelling and Graham Poll The company aimed to increase its coverage prior to one of the biggest sporting events on the globe.

2011: Purchases New Offices and launches Gala Interactive

The trend of upgrading the facilities of the company continued in 2011, when Gala Coral’s Gala Coral group shelled out the staggering amount of PS1.45billion to purchase 30,793 square feet of brand new offices in Stratford City.

The year also saw an overhaul of Gala Interactive’s online offerings. 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

The year 2012 saw the company get off its land-based casino operations and its 23 properties being sold up to Rank for PS205million according to the report in the BBC at the time.

2015. Coral Connect Card Launched

Product integration is now one of the major focuses of the betting industry because of the rapid increase in online betting – Coral was among the first companies to make an effort to connect its different products together through the launch in 2015 of its Coral Connect Card. Customers could place bets in shops via their telephone or online accounts.

Offering a single solution for wallets that allowed customers to withdraw funds from, and transfers to their online account through the shops, as well as having a convenient betting tracker app as well as a variety of special offers and perks.

2015: Bingo Clubs Sold

After the sale in 2012 of the casino’s land-based branch of the company Further streamlining was achieved through the selling of 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 falling under the control of Ladbrokes although only for a short time, two of the biggest players in the British betting industry eventually joined hands in the year 2016. Importantly, both companies followed the guidance of the mergers and monopolies commission prior to completing the merger and selling off in around 400 shops, mostly in the direction of Betfred as well as Stan James.

After all legal boxes were checked, the deal was officially signed on the 2 November 2016 with the new entity going under its name Ladbrokes Coral Plc. While it is now operating as a single entity from an Plc standpoint however, the company made the decision to keep Ladbrokes as well as Coral as distinct businesses from a consumer perspective as they both had enough to be successful.

2018. GVC Purchases Ladbrokes Coral

It seems like we are never far from a potential takeover of some kind In March 2018, we saw the newly formed Ladbrokes Coral Group taken over by the gaming and betting huge GVC Holdings, in a deal that is believed to be worth an astounding PS4bn.

More details on the new takeover is available on the official GVC website. With the acquisition of Bwin, Sportingbet and partypoker, GVC Holdings are now undoubtedly one of the largest players in the betting market, though more consolidation is not thought of in the near future.