Rank Group blames Government restrictions for decline

Rank Group, the bingo and casino operator, blames the smoking ban, taxation and regulation for a 3% decline in revenue for the year ending December 31, 2007. The company’s revenue fell to £534.4m, while operating profits were down 7% to £68.3m.

The company’s two largest arms, Mecca Bingo and Grosvenor Casinos, were also down on 2006, which it says was partially due to increased rates of casino gaming duty introduced in April last year. The group says it is opening outdoor gaming areas to accommodate those who smoke.

Rank Group chief executive Ian Burke says: “The combination of regulatory changes, structural increases in game duty and the ban on smoking in public places had a negative effect on the group at a time of weakening consumer confidence.”

Rank’s bingo clubs have also been hit by the forced removal of nearly 1,000 slot machines and an unexpected hike in tax. Burke says he expects 2008 to be a “challenging year” for Rank.

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