Bingo, casino and online gambling operator Rank Group has reported a 4% revenue rise in its fiscal Q1 ending October 14. In a trading update released on Friday, Rank said the rise came despite fewer customers walking through the doors of its Grosvenor Casinos and Mecca bingo venues. Grosvenor Casinos traffic fell 5% but those who came, came to play, with 13% growth in spend per visit (apparently the result of a higher than usual win margin from high-rollers at its London gaming joints). Similarly, visits to Mecca venues were down 2% while spend per visit was up 3%. This phenomenon did not apply to Rank’s Spanish division Top Rank Espana, which saw visits and spending decline 5%, resulting in a 9% revenue drop.
Online, a £400k TV ad campaign helped lift Meccabingo.com revenue by 11%, while a £2m marketing campaign helped push Blue Square Bet revenues up 19%. In percentage terms, the Grosvenor Casinos online arm was the star performer, posting a 72% revenue gain, although this feat was tempered by the admission that the digital realm accounts for less than 3% of Grosvenor Casinos’ total revenue. Rank also revealed that it was continuing discussions with the UK Competition Commission over Rank’s proposed £205m acquisition of most of Gala Coral’s casino holdings.
Over in Belgium, Rank’s online partner Unibet has been granted a license to offer online poker and casino games to Belgian players. Unibet had partnered with Rank in August in order to meet Belgian gaming regulators’ stipulation that every online operator have a brick-and-mortar presence in the country or a deal with a company that did. (Rank operates casinos in Belgium via its Blancas nv division.) Previously, the Unibet.be site had been restricted to offering sports betting only. Unibet recently announced a sponsorship with Belgian footballers Standard Liège.