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Mecca Bingo and Grosvenor Casino owner returns to profit ahead of Telford closure

Gambling company Rank has swung to a pre-tax profit after performances at its venues improved.

The Mecca site in Telford is closing
The Mecca site in Telford is closing

The firm, which has Mecca Bingos across the Black Country and in Telford as well as a Grosvenor Casino in Walsall, said pre-tax profit for the six months ended December 31 was £102.1 million compared with a loss of £59.4m a year earlier.

Revenue for the period was £333.7m compared with £177.6m a year earlier.

The company said that while the business environment continues to be challenging, when there are no restrictions business rebounds quickly. However, it added that the emergence of the Omicron coronavirus variant affected the latter part of the second quarter.

The firm recently announced its Mecca Bingo venue, based at Southwater Square in Telford, is to shut from Monday, February 7 after 29 years in the town.

CEO John O’Reilly said: “Our venues performed well following the reopening in May 2020, with revenues rising until the second half of quartet two when growing Covid-19 case numbers, the emergence of the Omicron variant and the resultant return of restrictions on consumers softened demand.

“Our digital business performed strongly in the half and is now much better positioned to continue to deliver on our digital ambitions. The successful migration of meccabingo.com earlier this month is the latest significant milestone in the shift to our in-house technology platform.

“Whilst the trading environment continues to be challenging and cost headwinds are applying additional pressure on the hospitality sector, we have proven that with no restrictions, our trading rebounds quickly. Rank is well positioned to regain the robust revenue and profit growth momentum we had created before the pandemic struck.

"We have strengthened the balance sheet and, with the return to profitability and cash generation, we have been able to accelerate our transformation programme to drive faster revenue growth as restrictions are lifted. There remains some uncertainty as to how Covid-19 will impact our businesses over the coming months, but we are accelerating our transformation investments and are competitively very well placed to benefit as consumers emerge from the pandemic.

“We are looking forward to the publication of the UK Government’s gambling review white paper, expected in the coming months. Land-based casinos and bingo clubs are in need of long overdue modernisation and the legislative review will hopefully enable us to deliver a broader and more compelling proposition to our customers.

“I am hugely grateful to colleagues right across the group for their commitment to their customers and to their local communities during the pandemic restrictions and for the progress being made in the ongoing transformation of Rank.”

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