Rank confident on FY expectations despite reiterating reform urgency

Grosvenor Casino Blackpool, Rank Group.

Rank Group has once again stressed the need for urgency when it comes to “critical modernising reforms”, with maintained growth across the digital ecosystem also a key priority in the immediate future for the company.

Earlier in the year, Director of Public Affairs David Williams, noted that “timing is key and, for casinos, progress cannot come a moment too soon” when addressing the implementation of white paper reforms.

These latest comments came in a brief trading update for the operator’s first quarter ending September 30, 2023, which highlighted an 11 per cent increase in revenue to £179.6m.

Rank’s digital segment swelled seven percentage points to £51.8m, with the UK and Spanish operations up six per cent and 15 per cent. The UK focussed Grosvenor and Mecca brands increased 14 per cent and nine per cent.

In total, the group’s venues division is reported as securing a 12 per cent uptick, with rises felt across the Grosvenor, Mecca and Enracha businesses.

The former has closed the quarter with revenue of £84.2m, up 13 per cent, driven by a nine per cent uptick in visits, while customer spend per visit headed four per cent north.

On a regional basis, facilities in London and the rest of the UK rose eight per cent and 16 per cent, respectively, while average weekly NGR closing at £6.4m, a year-on-year uplift of 10 per cent. 

Elsewhere, Rank reported that its network of bingo clubs saw revenue rise 11 per cent to £34.7m, driven by customer visits and spending climbing four per cent and seven per cent. 

Enracha, the company’s Spanish bingo business, is said to have “continued to deliver strong NGR growth”, with a figure of £8.9m representing a nine per cent increase.

Despite acknowledging a “challenging” environment, primarily due to continuing high inflation and interest rates and customer spending pressure, the company stressed confidence of delivering full year revenue and profit growth in line with expectations.

“I am pleased to report that Rank has made a strong start to the year,” commented John O’Reilly, Chief Executive. “After an encouraging second half of 2022/23, we have maintained the momentum through the first quarter of 2023/24 and have made good progress in driving revenue and profit growth across the group. 

“Going forwards, we remain focused on delivering the key growth initiatives within our digital business and preparing our UK venues for the critical modernising reforms in the government’s review of the gambling legislation.  

“These reforms, which are planned to be implemented by next summer, will help Grosvenor and Mecca to better meet the needs of our existing and prospective customers.”