The online and land-based bookmaker Coral is set to follow in the footsteps of William Hill and Ladbrokes and close down several betting shops, due to the government's recent changes towards gaming machines located in betting shops.
Despite the fact that Gala Coral (the mother company of Coral)showed a 3% rise in gross profits to £215 million, the company still noted in the statement that "As a result of the announced changes, and consistent with statements made by our competitors, the group regards shop closures, and therefore job losses, as inevitable."
A series of terrible football results and phasing of machine content costs took the blame for the poor result in the EBITDA (earnings before interests, taxes, depreciation and amortization), but the online part of the company did the counterbalance for the company with a strong performance.
“The group delivered strong underlying growth for the second quarter in a row, with underlying year to date EBITDA (pre-exceptionals) ahead in all divisions and 16 per cent overall. Online growth momentum is very encouraging with Coral.co.uk now coming through strongly. The combination of a single online wallet, improved content and simplified customer journeys is driving both actives and spend per head significantly ahead of expectations." CEO of Gala Coral, Carl Leaver said.
“The take-up on mobile is particularly pleasing with over 66 per cent of sportsbook actives now using our mobile platform. During the quarter we launched ‘Coral Connect’, which enables customers to access the single online wallet in shops both over-the-counter and on machines. The initial take up of the Connect card has been positive with sign-ups already ahead of our full year target." Leaver continued.
"In Italy, the demand for the new virtual betting products launched in the new year remains very strong in both Retail and Online, and the rollout of the tender shops continues to drive market share gain, with retail sportsbook market share now at 11.5 per cent, up 4.1pp in twelve months.” Leaver added.