Cold Weather Hits Rank’s Bingo Halls

Many factors affect the economy and the weather is one of those factors. When travel is difficult shoppers tend to stay home and entertainment venues are usually close to empty. About two years ago a series of severe arctic storms hit the UK and northern and central Europe. Transportation was disrupted and travel was impossible in some areas. The UK was particularly hard hit and heavy snow blanketed a large portion of the country. At that time bingo hall operators reported a drastic downturn in business. For many operators online bingo proved its worth and enabled some operators to remain profitable. Rank Group, the operator of Mecca bingo halls, posted record first quarter figures thanks to internet bingo.

This year bad weather struck the UK again. Heavy snow forced bingo players to stay home and some bingo operators are feeling the pinch. Rank Chief Executive Ian Burke told reporters “Allowing for the slow start to the second half we remain confident in our prospects for the remainder of the year and in our longer-term growth strategy.” This may Rank shares were still displaying the effects of the bad weather and slumped after it was revealed that revenues in the third quarter were affected by the late spring storms. Burke stated “Unsurprisingly, our venues were affected by the persistent freezing weather conditions during the third quarter.”

Even after the bad weather Rank remained optimistic and in a statement the company said “As a result of the temporary impacts of the abnormal weather during the winter period and a weak London win margin in the last 18 weeks, the group expects its 2012/13 results from continuing businesses (including the contribution from Gala casinos) will be marginally below last year.” Rank operates 97 Mecca bingo clubs in the UK and recently took over the Gala Casino chain.

Rank has invested heavily in remodeling the company’s bingo clubs to attract young players and the move has paid off. Bingo is becoming more popular with the younger generation and most young players take part in live and internet bingo games. A majority of Rank is owned by Malaysia’s Guoco but most of their operations are based in the UK. Growth in egambling has been driven by the increased use of smartphones and mobile devices and Rank was quick to offer players mobile applications. Once again internet bingo has demonstrated its value to Rank.