Rank’s odds get longer as Gala deal faces competition inquiry

CASINO giant Rank Group’s £205m purchase of Gala took a major setback yesterday as the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) announced that the deal will face a competition inquiry.

The OFT raised fears that the deal “would reduce competition both at a national level and in nine local areas” and referred it to the competition commission, which will report in February.

A takeover will make Rank the biggest casino company in the UK, with 44 per cent of the country’s casinos. Shares dipped yesterday and analysts warned the probe will possibly cancel the deal.

Rank said it was “considering the implications of the decision”.