In the past year the betting giant Coral Eurobet has been busy acquiring independent bookmakers and now has more than 1,100 shops. But the biggest change has been in the company’s sales, which are up by £1,790m to £3,794m in 2003. The change in betting-tax law in 2001 means that bookmakers’ gross profits are taxed instead of stakes. Coral has had an upsurge in custom and has been able to introduce popular low-margin betting machines, such as electronic roulette, that were previously uneconomic. It has also doubled the size of its telephone betting operation. Coral was founded in 1926 and in the last seven years was owned by Ladbrokes and Morgan Grenfell Private Equity. It is now in the hands of Charterhouse Development Capital and management after an £860m buyout in September 2002.
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