Rank Group profits have risen 9% rise, thanks mainly to its Grosvenor Casinos business, its online operations but more especially the Mecca bingo brand.
Even through the difficult economic times, Ranks pre-tax profits on continuing operations rose to £61.5m in the year to June, up from £56.4m a year earlier, which represents an excellent return, with also customer numbers up 4.9%, the group said.
But the average amount Rank brings in per customer fell by 1.4% to £224.82, which was expected because of the current position of the nation in recession.
Rank said it aimed to complete its purchase of Gala Casinos next month. This will add 23 casinos to its 37 Grosvenor outlets, making it the UK’s biggest casino operator.
Mecca’s online and mobile revenues were up an impressive 24.6% year-on-year to £56.2m in the 2011/12 period, which Rank attributed to improved cross-channel marketing, product upgrades, the strength of the Mecca brand and several high-profile advertising campaigns. The percentage of Mecca customers who interacted with the brand across both online and offline channels was 5.5%, up from 5.2% in 2010/11.
Mecca’s contribution to the dominant bingo and games online segment, which grew 24.1% to £59.7m, helped Rank Interactive to a 20.8% rise in revenue to £77.7m, and a 26.5% rise in operating profit to £10.5m.
Online casino also improved in the period, up 49.1% in revenue to £8.5m, which the company said reflected greater support and promotion in the Grosvenor offline venues.
Revenue from Rank’s Blue Square sports betting brand dipped 6.7% to £8.4m, despite the period including most of the Euro 2012 football tournament. The company blamed a “drop in stakes”. Poker was down 26.7% to £1.1m “because of increasing competition”.