Coral is one of the most-popular UK betting shops, probably third in line behind Paddy Power and Betfred. Coral has that rare quality that I like in a sportsbook – well-financed and backed by businessmen in a major world city. It's a nice time to visit Coral, as they've been pushing to change the site for the better over the past few years, adding new features, polishing off their game library, and creating easy-to-earn bonuses to drive new traffic.
When Gala Coral merged with Coral Eurobet in 2005, Coral rocketed to its current place in the pantheon of UK bookmakers and gambling sites. Today the group operates more than 1,800 betting shops and kiosks as well as the popular mobile- and desktop-only services available at Coral Online.
Though Coral still offers a download suite, instant play and mobile games are more popular these days, and it looks like Coral is moving in the direction of getting rid of the download option entirely. Their mobile site, while available in a limited variety on Windows, Apple, and Android tablets and smartphones, still needs some work if it's going to be competitive with the top mobile platforms in the industry.
How do I feel about Coral's various online gambling options?
Coral is licensed by two of the world's top gaming authorities Holding a license from either the UK or Gibraltar would be worth bragging about – the fact that Coral holds a license from both of them is even more impressive. I know more than a few gamblers who don't spend time considering a site's licensure, but I think it's important. For starters, if you have an issue with the site and you need to make an official dispute, you're out of luck with a site that's licensed in Costa Rica or Panama. Licensure from places like Gibraltar and the UK means added legitimacy and easier access to regulators should you need to go that route.
Casinomeister lists Coral Casino as "accredited." If you aren't familiar with Casinomeister.com and you gamble on the Internet, you need to get with the program. Brian Bailey and staff have been blacklisting and accrediting gambling sites for nearly two decades, and they work hard to right the wrongs done by rogue sites. A listing as "accredited" by Bailey et al is a good sign of a site's legitimacy and willingness to correct mistakes. The fact that Casinomeister gives Coral a high rating (8.4 out of 10) is further sign that this is one of the top all-in-one sites in all of the UK.
The sportsbook provides a comprehensive set of markets This is to be expected of a top-rated UK bookmaker. I cover the sportsbook in greater detail below, but suffice it to say that if you have the desire to bet on a sport, pro or amateur, you're likely to find it available at Coral. When you consider this along with the fact that Coral has one of the best-looking and most functional betting interfaces that I've reviewed this year, it's clear that sports bettors with access to the site will be impressed with the book's coverage, functionality, and design.
Coral has a limited number of boring bonuses
Look at that list above – do those look anything like the bonuses found at sites like Paddy Power or Betfred?
No – the bonus amounts are small, some of the wager requirements are higher than they should be for such small amounts, and I'm not sure that you can even call that poker offer a "welcome bonus." I'm not one to chase bonuses, but if I was, I wouldn't be enticed by the current available promotions.
The site's small casino game library was designed entirely by Playtech
I cover the casino games in more detail below.
Coral doesn't allow bets from anywhere in North America
- Bet $5, Get $20
All new depositors who deposit $5 or more are eligible for a free $20 sportsbook wager. This bonus carries no wagering requirement – the $20 free wager must be used within seven days of signing up.
- Casino Welcome Bonus
First-time depositors can earn a $50 bonus by depositing $10 or more. This bonus carries a 24x bonus wager requirement.
- Poker Welcome Bonus
All new depositors who intend to play poker can earn $20 in free tournament tickets just for making a deposit of $5 or more.
- Bingo Welcome Bonus
First-time bingo customers can earn a 300% deposit match bonus worth up to $15, provided they deposit a minimum of $5. This bonus carries with it an 8x bonus wager requirement, and the bonus must be activated within seven days of your first qualifying deposit.
- Mobile Bonus
In order to entice customers to try their revamped mobile presence, Coral is offering first-time mobile customers a $25 bonus for depositing $10 or more. The wager requirement (24x bonus) must be met by playing mobile games.
|Bank Transfer||$5 (or whole voucher value)|
- British pounds sterling
- US dollars
- Hong Kong dollars
- Swedish kronor
Coral has been operating in the sports betting industry since well before the Second World War. Though the site was late getting into the online industry, missing the initial boom by nearly a decade, they've done an adequate job playing catch-up, operating one of the most popular online books in the UK while amassing an empire of brick and mortar shops across Europe.
Not only is this one of the longer lists of available markets I've seen, it includes some intriguing obscure markets alongside the more popular European sports - football, US football, golf, tennis, hockey, and basketball. Coverage for sports like Hurling, Gaelic sports, Snooker, and Fishing are evidence of the site's UK heritage – yes, you can wager on major US sports year-round, but clearly the markets listed above are an indicator of the site's European heritage.
Five sports are now available for live in-play betting: football, golf, tennis, basketball, and cricket. I found the live coverage disappointing, and I had a devil of a time getting a consistent stream to play, though in the site's defense, I probably wasn't watching at peak traffic times, and mid-summer is the worst time of year in terms of professional sports. It's likely the coverage would be different on a different day.
A racebook is also maintained on-site, but coverage is limited to European tracks, and most of those are in the United Kingdom. No special welcome offers are made for racebook customers, and no coverage for greyhound races is available.
204 games – all Playtech designs--make up the casino library at Coral. I've written already above about how bored I get when playing at all-in-one sites that build their casino library out of a pool of games by a single designer. The lack of real variety in the various categories below should speak better to that point than anything else I can say.
At my last count, thirty-five games made up the "Table Games" category at Coral. Playtech sites tend to do this, lumping a ton of disparate games under the "Table" heading, even though the collection itself is a jumbled mess of games that don't have much to do with one another.
- 3 Card Brag – based on a traditional British card game which is an ancestor of modern poker
- Baccarat – the casino classic game of comparing two hands
- Caribbean Stud – a house-banked version of classic five-card stud
- Casino holdem – a house-banked version of Texas holdem
- Craps – the classic dice game
- Pai Gow Poker – a poker game based on an ancient Chinese game using dominoes
- Red Dog – a poker-like card game involving hand hierarchies
- Sic Bo – a dice game mostly popular in Asian casino hotspots like Macau
- Stravaganza – a five-deck progressive game similar to blackjack
- Tequila Poker – a high-speed poker variant with three initial betting options
- VIP Baccarat – a "VIP" treatment of Playtech's standard baccarat game
I was surprised to find just 103 titles in the slots category at Coral's casino – I was sure this was shaping up to be another site aimed almost exclusively at slots fans.
Playtech has an interesting collection of slot games, ranging from popular licensed titles to simple classic-style "fruit machines." I'm usually more interested in licensed titles, with their familiar characters, plot lines, and audio and video effects, not to mention bonus games and higher replay value. But if you're into more traditional slot gambling, I counted a couple of dozen simple "fruit and stars" games available.
Slots are one of the only games that count 100% toward clearing bonus requirements – even if you don't like slots, you'll likely find yourself playing them a bit to chase some bonus cash.
- Pick'em Poker
- 10-line Jacks or Better
- 2 Ways Royal
- Aces and Faces 25 Lines
- 4-Line Aces and Faces
- 4-Line Deuces Wild
- 4-line Jacks or Better
- 50-line Jacks or Better
- Aces and Faces
- All American Video Poker
- Deuces Wild
- Jacks or Better
- Joker Poker
- Mega Jacks
- Tens or Better
As a fan of video poker, I was happy to see games like Aces and Faces, Mega Jacks, and Tens or Better on this list. Too often, casino websites will host two or three of the most-popular variants and ignore the wealth of variety that's available in video poker rules and payouts.
But I take issue with parts of this list, too – I'm not a fan of multiple versions of what is essentially the same game being used to swell the appearance of a library's size. All those multi-line versions above are just filler and of little interest to video poker players. They may as well be cut from the list, for all the use they're likely to get.
Coral is a skin on the massive iPoker network. According to PokerScout, iPoker is regularly one of the top three poker rooms in terms of traffic. At the time of my review, more than 2,500 players were on the network in cash games. These days, that's a big number.
The only games now spread at Coral Poker are Texas holdem and Omaha – that's disappointing because of the variety of games found at other poker sites, including hi-lo and mixed games.
But most poker players are interested in playing one of these two variants. It's not such a big deal to most players.
The site runs tons of large-guaranteed prize pool tourneys. Events like the iPoker Online Poker Series are household names in the world of online poker – the iPOPS event alone has a prize pool of more than $3 million. Freeroll tournaments are also numerous and well-attended, and since the current poker player promotion is essentially a glorified freeroll ticket, this is really important for new players.
As for the player interface – it is solid. If you've played at any iPoker or Playtech-powered site before, you'll recognize it. Some software just looks old and clunky, but iPoker's interface runs smoothly, and I had no difficulty playing on as many as sixteen tables – the site's limit.
I especially liked the simple tile/cascade option that will resize all your tables and put them in the right position at the push of a button. The auto resize function works best on five or fewer tables, though it has the capacity to handle up to sixteen at a time.
One thing I appreciate from a design perspective – the color scheme of the poker interface matches the simple color scheme of the site as a whole. This sounds minor, but when you're flipping back and forth between the two, it can give you a headache.
- Internal messaging:
From your customer account, you can send a message to support staff through the site's internal messaging system.
- Live Chat
The site's international toll-free number is +44(0) 208 507 5544.
Contact the site at [email protected]
English is the only language you can use to communicate with customer support.
Coral is a household name in the few countries where it is open for business. A sparkling history of customer service, licensure from two of the world's top jurisdictions, and more than a decade in the business make this a reliable and consistent provider of a wide range of gambling options.
If you live in a country that Coral accepts customers from and you like betting on sports, you'll probably be impressed by what the site has to offer. Casino gamblers may not be as happy with the variety of available wagers, and I'd say the site still has some work to do with its live dealer and live betting functions. Still, I'm a fan of Coral, if for no other reason than that it seems like a totally above-board provider of sports and casino bets.
Customers without special VIP status are limited to $250,000 in withdrawals per day, a much more generous limit than is found at many of Coral's competitor all-in-one and sportsbook sites.
Coral restricts a lot of countries, so it's easier to list the countries that are allowed to do business with the site: Åland Islands, Albania, Argentina, Austria, Belarus, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Georgia, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxemborge, Malta, Macedonia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Republic of Ireland, Romania, Russian, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovina, St Kitts & Nevis, Sweden, and the UK.
Customers report the shortest pending and payout times with eWallets, particularly Neteller. This should come as no surprise, since Neteller is popular among European bettors, and they make up the entire population of Coral customers.
Every game at the site is assigned a value except for baccarat, which is the only game that doesn't contribute to clearing bonus winnings at all.
Here's a guide to games and their bonus clearing ability to help you keep track:
- Slots (including progressives): 100%
- Arcade games and scratch cards: 100%
- Roulette: 20%
- Blackjack and video poker: 20%
- Sic Bo and Keno: 20%
- Craps: 20%
- Casino poker: 5%
- Baccarat: 0%