The Covid-19 pandemic has had a “seismic impact” on the casino industry, said Rank Group CEO John O’Reilly on releasing severely depleted half-year results.
The group NGR was £177.6m compared with £391.8m in the comparative period of 2019/20, a 55 per cent drop. There was an operating loss of £52.9m compared with a profit of £55m and no dividend was proposed for the year.
O’Reilly said: “There is no doubt that the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has been far beyond anything we or any other leisure operator could have imagined or planned for.
“The ever-changing restrictions, coupled with curfews, which in particular have a seismic impact on our Grosvenor venues, have resulted in an exceptionally challenging first half for the group.”
He said that the company had taken a stringent approach in applying affordability restrictions, particularly on higher staking customers, which has impacted revenues in the UK digital business.
“We have been making good progress in the development of our proprietary technology platform to prepare the digital business for its exciting future.
“Once we have successfully completed the migrations of Mecca and Grosvenor, our in-house technology and development capability will give us much greater agility and speed in delivering developments, providing the group with a platform for growth both in the UK and internationally.”
He hoped that with the successful roll-out of the vaccine and the speed with which hospitality reopens and restrictions are eased, then by the summer the company venues will be fully open.
Rank has over 150 locations in the UK, two in Belgium and 10 in Spain. Its brand names include the Grosvenor Casinos, Mecca Bingo, Rank Interactive, Rank España and enracha.