Rank Group gaming revenue bounces back as venues reopen

Finance News

Rank Group has reported a pretax profit for the first half of fiscal 2022 as revenue increased after performance at Grosvenor, Mecca and Enracha venues improved.

The U.K. gambling group said pretax profit for the six months ended Dec. 31 was 102.1 million pounds ($137.5 million) compared with a loss of GBP59.4 million a year earlier. Revenue for the period was GBP333.7 million compared with GBP177.6 million a year earlier.

John O’Reilly, Chief Executive of The Rank Group said:”Our venues performed well following the reopening in May 2020, with revenues rising until the second half of Q2 when growing COVID-19 case numbers, the emergence of the Omicron variant and the resultant return of restrictions on consumers softened demand. Grosvenor has demonstrated high customer demand in the absence of COVID-19 restrictions, particularly when the travel restrictions for tourists coming into the UK were largely removed in October, resulting in much improved table handle in our London venues. Mecca has been harder hit, as caution amongst our older customer cohort has impacted visit numbers, particularly with the rising Omicron case numbers in the run up to Christmas.

“Our digital business performed strongly in the half and is now much better positioned to continue to deliver on our digital ambitions. The successful migration of meccabingo.com earlier this month is the latest significant milestone in the shift to our in-house technology platform. We expect to complete the migration of Grosvenor in the summer which will free up considerable development capability to enable much greater agility and speed in the delivery of products, services and enhanced digital customer experiences, as well as delivering valuable cost synergies. At this interim period, I am pleased with the return of stronger customer numbers and revenue growth across our digital brands.

“Whilst the trading environment continues to be challenging and cost headwinds are applying additional pressure on the hospitality sector, we have proven that with no restrictions, our trading rebounds quickly.  Rank is well positioned to regain the robust revenue and profit growth momentum we had created before the pandemic struck. We have strengthened the balance sheet and, with the return to profitability and cash generation, we have been able to accelerate our transformation programme to drive faster revenue growth as restrictions are lifted. There remains some uncertainty as to how COVID-19 will impact our businesses over the coming months, but we are accelerating our transformation investments and are competitively very well placed to benefit as consumers emerge from the pandemic.

“We are looking forward to the publication of the UK Government’s gambling review white paper, expected in the coming months. Land-based casinos and bingo clubs are in need of long overdue modernisation and the legislative review will hopefully enable us to deliver a broader and more compelling proposition to our customers.

“I am hugely grateful to colleagues right across the Group for their commitment to their customers and to their local communities during the pandemic restrictions and for the progress being made in the ongoing transformation of Rank.”