When the investors Candover, Cinven and Permira backed Gala Group’s £2.2 billion acquisition of Coral Eurobet in 2005, they created one of Europe’s biggest betting and gaming operations. Gala Coral owns 156 bingo clubs, 27 casinos, 2 greyhound stadiums, telephone and internet betting businesses, and nearly 2,000 betting shops. The company’s performance since 2006 has been hit by the smoking ban, higher taxes and changes in gambling regulation, prompting its private-equity backers to substantially write down the value of their investments. Gala Coral has now asked the investment bank Lazard to help raise £200m of extra funding. The company’s leap up this year’s table is due to being ranked on gross amounts wagered in 2008 of £15,032m rather than on its net income of £1,269m.

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Company details
CompanyGala Coral
ActivityBetting and gaming operator
LocationCentral London
Sales £m †15,032
Profit £m †362
Year endSep 08
Principal shareholdersCandover (27%), Cinven (27%), Permira (27%), management (19%)

If applicable:

* Supplied by company † Annualised figure