Grosvenor Casinos will invest more than £3.5 million (USD 4.2 M) to expand its Merchant City Glasgow gambling venue in Scotland. Rank Group's casino brand plans to add new table games, a new bar and restaurant, seating 70 covers, and viewing areas to watch live sport. The revamp is due to launch with a series of official events from June 30, with the official launch event taking place on July 2.
Construction is underway to revamp the gaming offer at the casino with upgraded tables and electronic roulette terminals. As for the new “premium” viewing area to watch live sport, it will feature wall screens where customers can watch and bet live under one roof.
Grosvenor, the largest UK casino operator with 52 branches nationwide, said it selected Merchant City as its flagship proof-of-concept venue, as the firm looks to “modernise its appeal and create an entertainment-for-all-offer, which breaks down perceptions of the traditional casino experience”. The operator also said this venue is one of the group’s best-performing venues outside London.
In addition, this upgrade is expected to create 13 jobs including a gaming host, three trainee dealers, a head chef, and three commis chefs. The Glasgow casino's general manager Debbie Johnston stated: “We’re excited to be creating a world-class entertainment venue which will offer guests an experience like no other, with a real focus on gaming, dining and sports viewing, all in a vibrant atmosphere. Glasgow’s hospitality sector was hard hit during the pandemic, but Grosvenor Casino’s major investment in Merchant City shows there is real confidence in the city’s recovery.”
The casino last year revealed that it was running a four-week gaming academy, including training on blackjack, poker and roulette, with the offer of full-time employment if participants qualified, as reported by The Scotsman. It also said the academy would focus on educating team members about the importance of ensuring all guests always play responsibly.
Grosvenor’s other casinos in Scotland include Aberdeen, Dundee, and Maybury in Edinburgh as well as a Glasgow Riverboat site. London-listed The Rank Group also owns Mecca, the largest bingo operator by venues in the UK, as well as several online gambling brands.
In April, Rank lowered its trading expectations by roughly 15%, estimating earnings of around £47 million ($60.5 million) to £55 million ($70.8 million) for the year. The decision to slash estimates comes after it posted lower-than-expected financial results for the first quarter of 2022. Against that pre-pandemic comparative period, Grosvenor venues posted net gaming revenue down by 14% to £69.1 million ($88.9 million) and Mecca venues delivered NGR down by 25% to £34.1 million ($43.9 million). Both UK venue businesses were affected by a softness in visits at the end of the quarter, consistent with a rise in new Covid-19 cases across the UK.
“The performance of our venues softened in March,” John O’Reilly, CEO of Rank, said in April, admitting the trend has continued into the first few weeks of the current quarter, impacting the company’s current expectations for its full-year performance.