Heatwave hits Rank Group but its customers are spending more

THE RECENT heatwave has kept gamblers away from Rank Group’s casinos and bingo halls, the firm said yesterday.

Chief executive Ian Burke said that despite good progress in integrating Gala Coral, the “hot weather has adversely impacted trading in the first weeks of the new financial year”.

Rank, which owns Mecca Bingo and Grosvenor Casino, said revenues were up seven per cent to £596.2m in the year to the end of June, while adjusted profits before tax fell one per cent to £65.1m.

Costs from its purchase of Gala, which went through in May after an agreement with the competition authorities that included selling off some casinos, totalled £8.5m.

Customer visits dipped from 27.1m to 26.9m over the year, while spend per visit rose from £21.57 to £22.63.

Turnover rose six per cent in its venues and 16 per cent over its digital platforms.

Enracha, the Spanish brand that Rank launched last year, has seen flat revenues of €34.5m (£29.4m), though the firm said this was better than the rest of the market.

Gala’s heatwave warning follows a similar statement from Ladbrokes, which last week blamed the weather for falling sales in some of its betting shops.