Gala Coral Group is a brand synonymous with bingo in the UK, as it has been offering bingo games to the public for over three decades. Offering bingo in physical halls and online over the years, it has become a reputable and well-loved brand amongst bingo players. Find out more about Gala Bingo and the history of this company below.
The Beginnings of Gala Coral Group
Bass Leisure was the original company name that ran bingo clubs across the UK under Bass PLC. By 1983, the company ran 22 bingo clubs under the now iconic brand name Coral and a further 24 bingo clubs in Pontins holiday parks. They then began purchasing a myriad of bingo halls from other businesses. This included:
|Date of Purchase
||Price Bought For
||80 bingo hall clubs bought from Thorn EMI
||30 bingo halls from Zetters Leisure
||74 bingo clubs chain bought from Granada PLC
||17 clubs bought from Ritz
||Price not disclosed
||10 clubs bought from Jarglen
||Price not disclosed
||27 Riva bingo clubs bought from First Leisure
||26 Ladbrokes Casinos from the Hilton Group
||Coral Eurobet acquired changed to Gala Coral Group
||10 bingo clubs from the Country Clubs in Scotland
||Leo Casino in Liverpool from Dolby Management
When Bass purchased Granada bingo clubs in 1991 under the Coral brand, they united the two brands under the name ‘Gala’. The rebrand began in the same year with new images launched and 17 clubs undergoing the rebrand.
By 1997, there was a management buy-in of the company. This resulted in all of the 130 Gala Bingo Clubs being purchased for £235 million from Bass. They then looked to increase their portfolio with a number of acquisitions from other brands. It was then sold in 2003 for £1.24 billion to Candover and Cinven, private equity firms. Permira later purchased a stake of £1.89 billion in 2005.
Gala Coral Group Post 2005
By October 2005, after the purchase of Coral Eurobet, they became the largest bingo operator and third largest bookmaker in the UK. The company then set out to become a market leader in other countries around the world. This includes Italy, where the Gala Coral business won 403 betting licenses in an open market tender in 2006 under the Eurobet brand.
In 2007, the smoking ban in England was introduced and had a massive impact on bingo clubs across the UK. At his height, there were 174 Gala bingo clubs, but after 2007, this has steadily declined. By 2012, there were around 140 Gala bingo clubs; in 2022, there were 130 Gala retail sites around the UK.
The group moved much of the business to Gibraltar in 2011 including the remote gaming division. The Gala Coral Group brand operates GalaBingo.com and GalaCasino.com under GVC Holdings. Gala Coral was then sold to rival Ladbrokes in 2015. This created a new brand, Ladbrokes Coral. However, the 130 bingo clubs were sold to Caledonia Investments for £241 million in the same year and the clubs were later rebranded to Buzz Bingo.
While Gala Bingo is now an online brand, it is still synonymous with bingo in the UK and players can access their wide range of bingo games anytime, anywhere from a mobile device, laptop or desktop PC.
Last updated: Jan 24, 2023