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West Midlands to get £11m bingo boost

Sandwell | News | Published:

Casino and bingo group Rank today announced plans to spend millions of pounds in the West Midlands driven by a surge in customer numbers.

Casino and bingo group Rank today announced plans to spend millions of pounds in the West Midlands driven by a surge in customer numbers.

Rank said it planned to invest £11.8 million in the region this year, including a £15m casino in Oldbury and a new-look Mecca Bingo Club in Kingstanding.

It was also behind the redevelopment of the Grosvenor Casino in Walsall, which was officially opened as G-Casino last night.

By the end of this year the group will have invested more than £14.6m in the area in just two years, creating around 70 jobs.

Group revenue for the 12 months to December 31 2010 was £567.8m, against £540m a year earlier, with pre-tax profits lifting from £48.5m to £55.2m.

The Mecca Bingo operation, which includes clubs in Bilston, Wednesbury, West Bromwich, Brierley Hill and Oldbury, saw an eight per cent lift in revenue thanks to an increase in customers and the amount they spent on each visit, with particularly strong growth in food and drink, despite the negative effect on trading of the heavy snowfalls during the first eight weeks of 2010.

Customers numbers were up 7.9 per cent to 2.5m, with the amount spent per visit up 3.4 per cent to £25.30.

Chief executive Ian Burke said: "We are developing increasingly sophisticated systems for understanding and engaging with our customers and our management team is motivated to deliver outstanding service to customers."

The biggest money-earner for Rank was Grosvenor Casinos, where revenue jumped 8.5 per cent to £238.6m and operating profit surged 16.5 per cent to £36m. Developers St Modwen have been given permission for the Oldbury casino on land alongside junction two of the M5 at Birchley Island in Oldbury. It is set to create more than 300 jobs.

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