Gala Coral, one of Europe’s biggest betting and gaming operations, has been badly hit by smoking bans, changes in gambling regulation and taxation, and aggressive competition. Struggling to service its debt of more than £2 billion, the company was forced to restructure last June. Its private-equity backers lost control, while the holders of its debt wrote off £700m, exchanging some of it for equity. Gala, which appointed Carl Lever as chief executive in November, owns 144 bingo clubs, 27 casinos and 2,000 betting shops in the UK and Italy, as well as online betting and gaming businesses. The Essex-based company’s turnover in 2010 was £1,168m, consisting of net revenue, not gross amounts wagered.
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