UK bookmaker Coral is the subject of a new BBC documentary series set to air later this month.
Plans for the show – dubbed Britain at the Bookies – were first announced last August. The series, set to debut on BBC One on Monday, July 20 at 9pm, focuses on the daily trials and tribulations faced by staff of a Coral shop in Huddersfield in West Yorkshire.
The shop is managed by longtime Coral veteran Tony Kendall (pictured), who relies on the help of daughter Siobhan to keep the joint humming. The junior Kendall is reportedly far less keen than her dear old dad about pursuing a life in the retail betting business, citing the perils of being in the presence of punters as they learn their bet is a loser. “I’ve had grown men swing at me over the counter, I’ve had people threaten to stab me and it doesn’t really make me want to go work up there.”
Recent statistics issued by the UK Gambling Commission suggest Siobhan’s concerns are well founded. Police were called out to UK betting shops 9,803 times last year, 1,600 more times than the year before.
Anti-gambling types have blamed the increase on the shops’ controversial fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBT), with the Campaign For Fairer Gambling citing an incident in which an FOBT player in the Midlands lost £5k, went down to a hardware store with his last £5 to buy a claw hammer with which to show the offending machine what’s what.
The documentary splits its time between the retail front lines and Coral’s East London HQ, where the company’s marketing mavens craft ways of luring punters in off the street and onto the company’s burgeoning online business. (So much harder to smash up a machine with a hammer when it’s your own computer.) Check out the BBC’s teaser trailer below.