Eyes down as numbers fall for Mecca Bingo owner Rank

Mecca Bingo operator Rank Group has reported falling full-year profits as it pointed to a 'challenging' UK market.

Rank reported 'reduced visits' at its Mecca Bingo halls. Picture: Ian Georgeson

Pre-tax profit in the 12 months to 30 June fell 7 per cent to £79.7 million, while revenue at Rank also slipped slightly from £709m to £707m.

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The group’s Mecca venues saw “reduced visits”, with revenue falling by 4 per cent over the year and operating profit slipping 9 per cent.

At its Grosvenor casinos division, revenue fell 3 per cent and operating profit dropped 14 per cent, with Rank blaming a combination of “macro-economic conditions, customer due diligence, venue closures and competitor openings”.

But chief executive Henry Birch focused on Rank’s digital performance, which saw sales rise 15 per cent and operating profit surge 63 per cent.

He said: “After a challenging first half of our financial year, we are very pleased with our second-half performance, especially with our digital business which delivered 63 per cent growth in operating profit for the year.

“Additionally, the group has put in place a number of digital, product and venue-based initiatives launching in the current financial year which we expect to drive top line revenues.”

Despite the fall in profits, Rank announced a 12 per cent hike in its total dividend to 7.3p a share, with the final payout of 5.3p due to made on 31 October.

Last year the group pulled out of a joint bid with 888 for rival William Hill after abandoning a £3.6 billion three-way merger attempt.