Rank Group Posts Significant Online Growth

Recently the Rank Group which operates 99 bingo halls throughout the UK released trading results. Rank also operates Mecca bingo online. The figures showed a decline in land based bingo revenues but also showed that online bingo revenues have grown by 25%. The results are for the 16 weeks leading up to the 16th of October. Rank is now 745 owned by Malaysian gambling company Guoco. The 74% ownership came after a controversial hostile takeover earlier in the year. The way the takeover took place prompted UK lawmakers to change company laws regarding declarations in merger talks.

Rank has been a leader in the UK internet gambling industry and the company believes that 2012 will be even more challenging because of economic conditions facing British consumers. Rank said they are in a position of financial strength and that their UK based brands are becoming more popular. The strong performance of Rank’s online gaming operations indicates that there is room for even more growth in the future.

Revenues prior to October 16th were flat but Rank has a strategy to sustain long term growth. Rank has a 19% decrease in revenues for their Spanish operations. To offset the loss in the Spanish gaming market Rank Interactive (Rank’s online gambling operations) revenue increased by 21%. Rank operates Grosvenor casinos and said that the number of players visiting Grosvenor casinos increased by 7%. Unfortunately spending per player has declined. Currently Rank is waiting on a decision by the European Court of Justice regarding their appeal on a VAT tax refund of approximately £280 million pounds. ($446,639,980.83 USD) A final decision on the appeal is expected on November 10th. Observers expect the court to rule in favor of Rank. If the appeal is successful Rank has another VAT claim of £275 million pounds ($438,580,325.53 USD) on the company’s bingo cards.

During the 42 week period from January 1st 2011 Rank’s revenues grew by 23%. Mobile gaming accounted for 6% of the company’s revenue. Rank’s mobile gambling revenues have triples year on year for the same period. A statement released by Rank’s board stated “While the outlook for the UK consumer in 2012 seems likely to be more challenging, Rank is in a strong financial position, possesses market leading brands with multi-channel distribution and has a clear strategy for sustained long-term growth.” Mobile gaming has captured the attention of the internet gambling industry. Online bingo games and mobile revenues were up and industry experts say that mobile gambling will drive the growth of the internet gambling industry in 2012.