Tough ‘venues’ condition sees Rank Group up digital presence

Ahead of its Annual General Meeting, London-listed gambling operator Rank Group Plc has issued a 16-week trading update (period ending 15 October).

The gambling operator has stuck by its full-year guidance, despite facing tough ‘venue conditions’ in 2017.

In its latest trading update, Rank would sustain a like-for-like group revenue increase of 2%. The company detailed that growth was primarily driven by a 19% increase in its digital channel, which would offset the 1% revenue decline recorded by its venue division (Grosvenor Casino and Mecca Bingo).

Last August, Rank governance detailed that its venues were facing a ‘tough retail environment’ impacted by a combination of macro factors and raising operational costs.

In its latest update, Rank would detail that Grosvenor Casinos’ like-for-like revenues were down 1% during the period driven by a ‘lower than average win margin’, Mecca Bingo venues revenue down 2%.

Seeking to optimise its venue performance, Rank is currently undertaking a full division strategy review led by new Retail MD Alan Morgan (appointed September 2017).

Countering its venue impacts, Rank governance continues to invest in the firm’s digital assets. Both Grosvenor Casinos’ and Mecca’s digital channels grew strongly during the period, with revenues up 34% and 11% respectively.

Seeking to continue its strong digital momentum, Rank governance has increased marketing spend for its digital assets. Last July, the company announced its first shirt sponsorship for GrosvenorCasinos.com with London football club Fulham FC.

Rank will now further expand its digital product portfolio, by launching its much anticipated full-service sportsbook in the coming months.