After the Rank Group pulled out of talks to purchase the casino operations of Gala Coral late last month, having failed to agree on a price, Coral, the bookmaker arm of Gala Coral has decided to seek an advertising agency to handle their £3 million advertising account. In a bit of  a surprise move, Olly Raeburn, Marketing Director at Coral, has decided to approach agencies directly in an effort to avoid a long review and pitch process, as he looks to appoint an agency by summer time to get ready for a major brand push.

No agency names have surfaced as yet, or whether incumbent Engine, who won a three-way pitch process back in 2009 will take part in the review. Currently the account is handled by Partners Andrews Aldridge, which handles the below-the-line business. The £3 million buying account currently handled by 7stars since the end of last year and media planning duties overseen by Engine-owned consultancy Edwards Groom Saunders will not be affected.

According to briefs, Gala Coral operates Coral, the third largest retail bookmaker in the United Kingdom with 20% market share, the leading online bingo site of Gala Bingo with 34% market share and Gala Casinos, the third largest casino operator in the UK.

In other media related news in the gambling industry, Blue Square, which is part of the Rank Group, has tapped the Hill + Knowlton Strategies to manage their UK consumer PR account. The deal includes increasing awareness for the brand’s numerous gambling products, including bingo, casino, games and sports betting, as well as positioning Blue Square as a ‘no-nonsense’ betting service against the likes of more established brands including the likes of William Hill, Paddy Power, Betfair and Coral.  The coveted account went through a competitive pitch process that was a three-way race, before being handed to H+K. The account will be handled by Steve Bradley, the Sports Director at H+K.