Team SBC’s Sam Cooke caught up with Nicholas Goff, Head of Football Trading at Gala Coral Group, to discuss their plans for the World Cup Brazil 2014, how they’ve approached it and what they are anticipating in terms of betting.
Ahead of the forthcoming changes to gambling taxation for the United Kingdom Coral’s plans for the future were also discussed.
SBC: What was Coral’s game plan and marketing focus ahead of the World Cup?
Nick: Well, we have two plans of attack. From a marketing point of view we started with a huge offer, 2/1 Brazil to wear yellow in the first match to new customers for £10 maximum. It was a certainty, so effectively giving new punters £20 to bet with. Our hope is that they’ll stay with us for the tournament and we’ll get a few bookie-friendly results along the way. Then, from an odds-compiling stance, we’re looking to take lots of strong views and hopefully lay a lot of big bets. These opportunities only come along every couple of years, we’ll be hoping to see very brisk trade.
SBC: What type of bets do you think will be most popular, and just how important are you expecting in-play betting to be?
Nick: Other than the usual 1X2’s, correct scores and first goalscorer which have always been the most popular, now both teams to score, team to win and both teams to score, wincasts (player to score anytime and team to win) and scorecasts (player to score first and the correct score) have risen in popularity and will all see more turnover than ever at this World Cup. In-play betting will go through the roof in this World Cup. The match times are great for punters to watch from home or the pub and mobile betting has taken off in a huge way since the last major tournament two years ago. In-play betting will be a sizeable chunk of our turnover this time.
SBC: To what extent do you anticipate mobile betting to account for bets placed this summer?
Nick: Oh, mobile has gone crazy. It’s absolutely huge. About half of all of our non-shop bets now are placed via the mobile app and that proportion is only going to move in one direction in this tournament and the next 12 months in general.
SBC: Sponsoring the Telegraph’s fantasy football game by offering a free bet for those who sign up seems a good move, what are your expected gains from this and is it something you’ll continue with into the Premier League season?
Nick: I don’t think any bookmaker has quite pulled off the ‘Fantasy player to betting account’ shift successfully over the years, which is surprising as Fantasy Football fans are people you’d usually expect to fancy backing their opinion, so we’re having a stab at trying to get it right! Early signs are encouraging and we’ve seen a fair take up. As for the new season, it’ll be for the Marketing guys to assess that after the tournament
SBC: With competition fiercer than ever amongst bookmakers, and with the forthcoming tax alterations, what are Coral’s immediate plans for the future to stay ahead of the game?
Nick: I want to build the best team of football traders Coral can have – we want to pick our battles intelligently, not shy away from taking very big bets on the leagues we specialise in but at the same time offer a service to compete with any of our major rivals in terms of depth of content. We need to ensure we’re offering as many (or more) leagues, markets and inplay games as the guys we know lead the way in that department, Hills and 365. In the past, perhaps we’ve been a little bit behind those two in that category, but we’ve taken giant strides to catch up in the past 12 months and customers have noticed that.
SBC: Finally, we have to ask, who’s going to lift the trophy?
Nick: I think Argentina are the most likely winners. Whether there’s any value left in them at the current 4/1 is debatable, but I do think they’re the best team in the competition.
Nicholas Goff, Head of Football Trading at Gala Coral Group