Rank boosted by strong digital growth

Business News

British casino operator Rank Group Plc said first-half pretax profit rose on strong growth in its online business in the UK, and reaffirmed the full-year outlook.

The operator of Grosvenor casinos and Mecca bingo hall said revenue from its online channels across the UK rose 16 percent in the six months to Dec. 31, with operating profit from the business soaring 56 percent to 11.4 million pounds ($16.2 million).

Total adjusted profit before tax rose 17 percent to 40.2 million pounds for the six months.

However, revenue from its venues were down 1 percent on like-for-like basis, an outcome it blamed on challenging retail environment on the British high street.

The comments underscored that the casino industry is not immune to the pressures facing Britons as higher inflation and subdued wage rises leave them with less money to spend.

Rank Group has been trying to increase footprint of its online operations to stem the slowdown in revenue at its halls and casinos and to market itself to younger players who use mobile apps, by introducing websites such as meccabingo.com and grosvenorcasinos.com.The company added trading in the short four-week period to Jan. 28 has been in line with its expectations.