BUSINESS

Rank has the answer to the smoking ban; Ladbrokes ties up Belgian agreement with PMU; Shares continue to fall

TAGs: Ladbrokes, Mecca Bingo, PMU, Rank Group

Bingo playing smokerIts no myth that bingo clubs have struggled since the smoking ban came into effect in 2006. Mecca Bingo owner Rank thinks it has the answer though. The company gained permission from Edinburgh’s licensing board to allow players to gamble using handheld devices whilst sparking up.

Stephen McGowan, who represented parent company Rank Group at the licensing board meeting, said, “There will be no public address system or speakers in this area.

“And as part of these changes, we are creating a noise lobby because internal double doors will be closed, so we are actually reducing the [noise] problem.”

The shelter, basically a 7ft high wooden fence, has cost the firm around £60,000 and the hope is that it will bring players back that have been put off by the ban being in place. The exodus from bingo halls has seen an upturn in fortunes for many companies that operate in the online bingo industry. Rank shares bucked the global trend upon the announcement as they were up seven pence earlier on today before slumping by 1.64% by the time this article was published.

Ladbrokes has signed an agreement with Pari-Mutuel Urbain (PMU) that will bring sportsbetting to Belgian residents. From 2012, the non-exclusive deal will mean that Ladbrokes’ legion of Belgian customers will be able to bet as part of the PMU player pool the encompasses ten countries across Europe including France, Sweden, Germany, Netherlands, Spain and Britain. The deal is contingent on approval being received from the Belgian Gaming Commission and the relevant horse racing authorities in the smaller of the low countries. The deal did nothing to stem the losses that Ladbrokes share price has seen as it slumped by 1.55% today on the back of the worldwide stock market crashing yesterday.

Bwin.party Digital Enterainment’s shares continued to plummet in value as they dropped by just over 4% with Sportingbet also seeing another 3.57% wiped off their value.

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