International edition
September 30, 2020

It also said it would bid for new casino licenses

British group Rank hit by smoking ban

(UK).- British leisure group Rank reported a 12 percent decline in annual pretax profit from its ongoing business on Friday as Scotland’;s smoking ban sapped bingo profits. The group, which runs Grosvenor casinos and Mecca bingo clubs, said adjusted profit before tax was us$ 86.3 million for the year to end December.

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evenue from ongoing operations was us$ 1 billion. This compared with a consensus expectation of us$ 89.3 million from revenue of us$ 1 billion, according to a survey of six analysts polled by Reuters.

Rank said it would bid for a number of new casino licenses, but did not say which ones it was looking at. "We intend to bid for a number of these new casino licences, although we have concerns about the inequitable regulations governing existing casinos and the new casinos," the firm said in a statement.

The UK government backed Manchester to host Britain’s first Las Vegas style supercasino in January and has laid down plans for a further 16 new large casinos. Rank said the company was set for a rocky ride in the next few months as the smoking ban, already in force in Scotland, is extended into England and Wales.

Scotland’s ban on smoking contributed to a 15 percent drop in like-for-like revenue at its bingo halls there. "In the short term we recognise that our businesses face a number of challenges, most notably the smoking ban which will be effective across the whole of Britain from July this year," CEO Ian Burke said in a statement.

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