So when you join their online betting site you know you are in the safe hands of a major and trusted firm.
What follows is a full review of the Coral’s sports coverage and excellent online interactive betting site as well as a look back at the history of the company. Ultimately we conclude that they offer an excellent service to anyone seeking a reliable destination for a bet.
Popular spectator sports such as football and horse racing are obviously high on the list at coral.co.uk, but that doesn’t mean that fans of other sports aren’t amply catered for.
Sporting coverage extends to American sports, such as American football, baseball, basketball and ice hockey as well as boxing, cricket, rugby league, rugby union, tennis and many other minority sports. Indeed, even if sports isn’t your thing, you’ll find opportunities to bet on non-sporting events, such as X Factor, Strictly Come Dancing or even whether it will snow on Christmas Day, if you so desire.
Coral Bookmaker offers an extensive range of punting opportunities, as you’d expect from one of the leading bookmakers in the country.
Football betting markets include all the usual match, correct score, half-time/full-time and goalscorer markets plus many more.
Indeed, for football punters who enjoy multiple bets, Coral offers its “Better Bet” coupon with enhanced odds on selected matches if they’re backed in trebles and upwards.
Horse racing markets include win and each-way markets, at board price, starting price or Tote price. That is available on the day’s races plus ante-post markets on future events.
Tennis betting markets include match betting, set betting and a plethora of other markets on individual matches, as well as outright tournament winner markets, from all the tournaments on the ATP and WTA tour circuits and the Grand Slam tournaments.
Registering with Coral will be a familiar process to anyone who’s registered with an online bookmaker in the past. You simply need to complete a single online form with your name, address, date of birth and supply the username and password you’d like to use to access the site.
You can supply your own security question and answer, enter a promotional code if you have one (not needed to get their introductory free bet), and opt in or out of receiving promotional material.
Once you’ve registered your account, you can deposit funds immediately, using any major credit and debit card or other payment methods, such as Internet banking, ClickandBuy, Paysafe and Ukash, or you can deposit funds later.
The My Account section of coral.co.uk allows you to see, at a glance, your cash or withdrawable balance and your playable balance, which includes any available bonus funds and free bets.
From this section, you can also manage your payment methods, deposit or withdraw funds, view your bet history and update your contact details and preferences, if necessary. There’s also a useful “Contact Us” section, which includes a freephone telephone number, an email address and a messaging system, if you ever run into difficulty or have any questions while using the site. Unfortunately there is no live chat facility, and that would make a handy addition.
All the betting opportunities available from coral.co.uk, such as sports, including live, in-play betting, casino and poker, are presented neatly in a menu at the top of the home page.
Clicking on “Sports”, for example, reveals a “Quick Links” section, which includes football, horse racing and tennis, by default, but which you can customise to include your own favourite sports.
A similar comment applies to the “My Coupons” section, which you can edit to include just the sports, league and competitions of your choice. There’s also a “Sports A-Z” section, so if you place an occasional bet on, say, motor sports or snooker, you’ll be able to find the market you want with a minimum of fuss.
Build Your Own Racecard
If you are a horse racing fan who likes to place multiple bets, such as doubles, trebles and accumulators, you’ll appreciate the “Build Your Own Racecard” feature.
With a few mouse clicks, you can pick and choose from the day’s races and see them all, on a single racecard. The racecard includes not only basic information and, of course, the current win and each-way odds on offer, but also links to the previous form and the Racing Post Spotlight comment for each runner.
Conveniently, you can also access Tote win and place, exacta, swinger and trifecta markets directly from the racecard. Clicking on the price of a selection adds it your betting slip and if you add two or more selections the available multiple bets automatically appear below them on the slip.
Once you’ve finalised your selections, placing a bet is as simple as filling in the appropriate stakes and clicking on the “Place Bet” button.
The history of the bookies can be traced back to 1926 when Joe Coral, a Polish immigrant born Joseph Kagalitsky, embarked on a career as an on-course bookmaker. The firm opened its first High Street betting shop in 1961, following the introduction of the Betting and Gaming Act and by 1977 had become one of the so-called “Big Four” bookmakers who dominated off-course betting at that time.
The founder Joe died in 1996, but his famous firm has continued to flourish. The company acquired an online presence in 1999 and, nowadays, coral.co.uk is operated by Gala Interactive Limited, which is licensed and regulated in Gibraltar and the UK. It remains the third largest retail bookmaker in the United Kingdom with a market share of around 20%.
Problems We Encountered
The problems we encountered when betting at coral.co.uk are not deal breakers, but they were disappointing.
- It took a full 15 minutes to get through to a person on their customer services telephone line at 7pm GMT, which is unacceptable.
- We made a Neteller withdrawal for £1,016 and in our transaction history it said: “Transfer funds to a separate balance for investigation.” This prompted us to phone them and find out what was happening especially when we had not received our money within 24 hours. We were told that alarming statement was “normal.” When we suggested that this wording might encourage a barrage of calls from worried clients, we were told that it did (maybe a reason why it is so difficult to get through?).
- We were then told that it would take “up to 48 hours” for a Neteller withdrawal. That is not industry standard practice as all the top online betting firms we review on this site pay by Neteller within a few hours at most. We know as we have tested it. Some had paid the money within a matter of minutes rather than hours. Coral is lagging behind their rivals on the most crucial part of their business – paying customers out quickly.
- The Playtech sports betting software is currently not on a par with the OpenBet or Finsoft software used by the other major firms. When you log in to your betting account there is an alarming lag as the account first appears not to have acknowledged the log-in details and then it does a laborious redirect and finally logs you in. That is an amateur experience and just one example of how the system is patently still a work in progress.
- On the Wednesday of the 2013 Cheltenham Festival the entire website crashed after Sprinter Sacre won the Queen Mother Champion Chase. They had offered evens (up to a £20 bet) about the 1/5 shot as a promotion to get vast numbers of new clients. When everyone came to collect their winnings the hardware could not cope and the site was inaccessible – how many of those affected customers will ever return?
- We had incompatibilities with our account because we were using Google Chrome as our browser. The sportsbook software was not displaying crucial ‘bet history’ information correctly. Customer services admitted that it had bugs when you used the biggest and best browser in general use. Hopefully that annoyance has now been resolved.
It was a mistake, in our view, for Coral to choose to be Playtech’s guinea pig with their brand new, inferior and ‘buggy’ sports betting software. Only the customers suffer, and given the terrific service rivals such as Bet365 offer, people will not return to discover if their problems have been ironed out.
The delayed payments need solving and the sportsbook software will surely improve in time, if anyone there cares enough – and that is our concern. We passed this information on the customer services by way of feedback rather than complaint and were told to write a letter – well here it is! So you have to wonder how well the online operation is being managed because if the front line personnel do not pass on the problems players are encountering then how can the experience ever improve?
Nevertheless, these issues are not enough to put us off completely. After all, everything does work, just not as well as it could. Their rivals have set a very high standard to equal and just now Coral are not quite up with the pace.
This is a good website with top-notch features and the software works fine and can only improve, though it really does need to. Despite the annoyances we experienced while wagering on their website, you should still have no qualms about joining Coral and we suggest you claim their free bet while you are at it.