The Grosvenor G Casino in Luton has been awarded a “small licence” under the Gambling Act of 2005, beating off stiff competition from Monorgate and Genting casinos to do so.
Rank Group Plc, the owners of the Grosvenor Casinos brand, informed investors of the new licence last week when it released its full-year results for the 12 months ending on June 30, 2014. The new licence will see the G Casino in Luton’s floor space increased to no less than 1,500 square meters and the number of gaming machines – such as slots – increased to 80, so long as the number of machines is not twice the number of gaming tables at the venue.
Sports betting is now allowed at the Luton casino, but it is not clear if Rank will offer it to its customer base.
Revenue for the group increased 13% to £707.7m year-on-year, although there was a 4% decline in pre-tax profit to £62.5m. The fall in profits was blamed on its Mecca Bingo arm, which made £37.0m, down from £44.1m in 2012/13. The Grosvenor Casino’s brand’s profits increased to £56.8m from £47.4m during the previous reporting period.
Chief Executive of Rank, Henry Birch, explained how the first six months of the year were “challenging.”
“Performance improved in the second half of the year following a challenging first six months. The Group is well positioned for future growth with the cut in bingo duty, major capital investment programmes planned at Nottingham, Bournemouth and Luton casinos and full year benefits from the £8.9m investment into new product in the acquired casinos. In the short term the introduction of a digital point of consumption tax will impact performance but our strong brands and market leading positions ensure that the Group is well placed and provides long-term opportunities.”
Birch was pleased with the Group’s digital arm performance, particularly in the increasingly popular mobile gaming, which saw revenue growth of 43%.
“While Rank has built strong positions in venue-based gaming, we have not yet been able to replicate this across our digital channels (desktop, tablet and mobile). In 2013/14, our digital operations generated just 10 per cent of Group revenue whereas digital channels now represent around 30 per cent of Great Britain’s gambling market (excluding National Lottery).We recognise that we need to step up our capability in this area if we are to meet the changing needs of our customers and to capture a greater share of the digital market. This year, we will put in place a number of building blocks to support this aim including the appointment of Colin Cole-Johnson as Group Director of digital and cross-channel services.”