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Coral Bookmaker Review

coral home page screenshotCoral has a market share of about 20%, making them the third largest bookmakers in the UK. They have both brick and mortar locations and a huge online presence, meaning that they are also one of the most accessible bookies around. Perhaps because of their online operation they are not really thought of as a traditional bookmakers but that’s not really fair. Joe Coral formed the business in the 1920s to allow people to bet on greyhounds.

Coral may not be thought of in the same way as the likes of Ladbrokes and William Hill, but their history is almost as well-established as both. Interestingly, Ladbrokes tried to buy Coral in 1997 and succeeded in doing so in 2015, so the company has its own history as well as at that of its new owner. As you’d expect for such a large company, their market and odds are up there with the best of them; that’s especially true for football, tennis, golf and horse racing.

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Desktop Site

coral desktop website

Generally speaking I quite like the Coral website. It follows the company’s colour scheme of predominantly blue with a bit of yellow and green chucked in, so it looks quite smart. It’s reasonably responsive to instructions, though I do find it to be a little bit stuttery when I’m scrolling around from time to time. That’s happened to me on different computers, too, so I’m not sure that it’s just my machine that’s the problem.

The top bar of the site guides you to all of the company’s different products, such as bingo and the casino. If you’re on the sportsbook page then there’s another bar that will take you to the most helpful sections of the site like live streaming, live scores and Coral Radio. If you want a quick link to different sports then there’s a bar on the left that will do that, as well as a ‘My Coral’ section that takes you to all of your most used sports. The main part of the page tells you what’s coming up and what’s live, which is handy. There’s no search function but other than that it’s a very passable website.

Coral Mobile App

I like the website but I like the mobile app even more. It’s got the same smart look as the main site and it is just as responsive to touch, too. It does what I want it to immediately, without having to wait for ages for it to do as its told. Where the website has links to Coral’s other products and useful sections of the site, the app is more condensed and immediately offers you all of the sorts of things you’d want to use an app for - specific sports, in-play betting and cash out.

The main section of the home page gives you upcoming races, any in-play events that may be interesting and some of the most popular bets. One downside of the app is that clicking on a sport that doesn’t have any events that day will just give you a blank page, with the need to scroll through to find the next event. There’s also something about the typeface and colour of the markets within the event that’s a bit bland, meaning I don’t love it as much as some other apps.

Live Betting

coral live betting in play

Coral completely overhauled their live betting section recently and it’s made a huge difference. It is now up their with the best in the business and is a pleasure to use. The ‘Bet In-Play’ tab gives you a nice list all of events that are taking place at that moment, with odds for the most obvious things right next to a scoreboard and timer. Clicking on the event will then take you into a much more detailed set of options.

Live Streaming

Coral’s main live streaming is of horse racing, no major surprise considering that that is one of the company’s areas of expertise. You can watch any race as long as you've bet £1 or more on it, this applies to greyihiund racing too.

Other sports are live streamed too, in fact Coral are one of the bigegst streaming betting sites around, with snooker, rugby, tennis and football high on the list. What I like most about Coral is the graphics they have on events that they don’t live stream. Click on a tennis match, for example, and you’ll see a little ball bouncing back and forth over a net to give you an idea of how long a rally is lasting. It’s fun.

Markets and Odds

Coral’s market coverage is pretty big. You’d expect that, obviously, for such a well-known company but it still needs saying. They have to cater for both young people who want to jump on the phone whilst their other half is watching something boring and have a bet on a random event as well older types who like to walk to the shop and bet on the football at the same time every week.

It’s not just sport that’s covered by Coral, either. They have a section dedicated to more unusual things like the next James Bond, who will win the X-Factor and when a member of the Royal Family will get pregnant next. When it comes to odds Coral are very competitive, especially on horse racing, but aren’t always the best in the land. They’re competitive and their enhanced odds offers also help them get up their with the best in the business.

Banking

There’s little that you can’t use to make a deposit with Coral and none of their methods incur any fees, which is nice. Debit cards, credit cards, Skrill, Neteller, PaySafeCard, ecoPayz, bank transfers are all available with a minimum deposit of £5. The only one that’s more, in fact, is PayPal that asks you to put in £10.

With Coral you can even paying money into your account via a Coral shop, once you've registered sign up for a Coral Connect card.  Not only will this allow you to deposit and withdraw from your online wallet from a shop you can also bet in the shop with the same funds.

About Coral

coralJoe Coral borrowed money from a café owner in 1926 in order to operate a pitch at a greyhound meeting. He was joined by his friend Tom Bradbury-Pratt and the two of them soon began to cover a number of greyhound and speedway meetings; something that is reflected in the fact that Coral still own some greyhound tracks around the country.

When offsite bookmaking shops were allowed thanks to government legislation passed in 1960, Joe was one of the first bookies to take advantage. His first shop was opened in 1961 and the company soon gained a reputation as it was willing to take big bets. By the time it was bought out by Bass in 1981 Coral had about 650 shops. I’m not sure if he ever paid the café owner back.

Pros

The usability of both the website and app are big pluses for me. I know it sounds silly but if you like to place bets as much as me then you’re going to be on them pretty regularly, so there’s nothing worse than a site that’s a bit clunky and boring. The combination of a bookies with an on-street and online presence works well for me.

Cons

To be honest there’s not a huge amount to criticise, really. If you don’t really like betting on the horses then you might find them lacking in some ways, though having said that their coverage of all sports is pretty good. I think it’s fair to say that they’re good at lots of stuff rather than amazing at one thing, but is that a criticism?

Licence & Contact Details

If you want a petty criticism then perhaps the fact that they’re not contactable 24/7 will do. Their customer service operation runs from 7am until midnight. They also only deal in English, so that might annoy you if it’s not your first language. When they are open they’re friendly and helpful and contactable by phone, live chat, email and snail mail.

Social media-wise, they do have a Twitter account but it’s mainly used for self-promotion rather than interaction with customers. There’s more interaction with people on their Facebook page.

Coral is based in Gibraltar for tax purposes but they have a UK Gambling Commission licence (reference number 39071). If you want to know where you need to send any letters or snail mail then their address is here:

Coral Address: Coral, New Castle House, Castle Boulevard, Nottingham, England, NG7 1FT