Belfast Telegraph

Gala Coral earnings boosted by football and Grand National

Earnings at bookmaker Gala Coral were boosted by the Grand National and football results in the first half of the year as the industry attempts to bounce back from Cheltenham.

The betting firm, which is in the midst of a £2.3 billion merger with rival Ladbrokes, saw earnings rise 16% to £124.6 million.

Chief executive Carl Leaver said: "Margins benefited from improved football results in both the UK and Italy, and a good Grand National result helped offset losses from the worst Cheltenham for the industry since 2003."

Bookies across the board were hammered at Cheltenham this year as a large number of favourites winning races meant big payouts to punters.

Revenues came in at £604.9 million, a 13% increase on the last year.

In May, the Competition and Markets Authority said Ladbrokes and Coral may have to offload 350 to 400 high street stores as a condition of their proposed merger.

Ladbrokes and Coral are the second and third-biggest betting operators after William Hill.