The UK-headquartered Rank Group owns some of the country’s most popular casino and Bingo retail outlets. This appears to be a superbly positive statement. But all is not how it appears to be; just ask anyone abreast of the recent industry developments in the country. Retail has taken a huge knock as a result on the new bet-size restrictions on Fixed-Odds Betting machines, or FOB’s. If that wasn’t enough to all but break the industry’s back, there are also tax hikes and a looming hard-exit Brexit to contend with over the next couple of months.
The Rank Group has been weathering the full wrath of this particular storm, and recently voiced its concerns as well as its aspirations for the coming year. It also shed some light on its 2% year on year revenue drop during the second half of 2018, which obviously was the cause of a lot of concern on the parts of shareholders and investors.
The operator owns the Grosvenor and Mecca brands, which are made up of land-based casinos and Bingo venues. Retail has been the name of the game for the longest time, but the group has been quite vocal about the importance of having ventured into the digital market, which has on many counts, been its saving grace.
Venturing into the digital arena has been hailed as a very positive move on the part of the group. The 16% increase in digital revenue not only provided a major boost in terms of investor confidence, but also had the secondary knock-on effect of having stimulated market growth for the group’s Grosvenor and Mecca brands.
According to group CEO John O’Reilly, the Rank Group’s overall revenue performance during 2018 was not what he had envisioned, but that driving forward the operator’s digital brand was now his main focus.
O’Reilly pointed out that the battle wasn’t yet completely won, but that a long road still lay ahead in terms of making revenue improvements and cost efficiencies a reality. He however seemed positive and in good spirits about the future of the group, despite the UK market’s many challenges.