British gamblers will have less to spend on their enjoyment in the coming months because of escalating household bills, notably the fast-rising cost of energy.
John O’Reilly, CEO at Rank Group, owner of Mecca Bingo and Grosvenor Casinos, commented that there “are clearly pressures on the consumer wallet.” He is quoted in The Daily Telegraph newspaper on Friday, forecasting a resulting hit on business in the coming year.
Mecca has 72 bingo clubs across the UK, the average age of players cited as 56; it is the over-50s that are thought to be the most at risk of struggling with dwindling finances as inflation bites.
Said O’Reilly: “Trading conditions are likely to remain difficult in the months ahead with inflationary pressures squeezing consumer discretionary expenditure and cost increases, particularly in energy prices, putting pressure on profit margins.”
Rank Group posted underlying profits of £40m for the half-year, up from an £82m pandemic-induced loss in the first half of 2021. Earlier this year Rank reported weaker trading in its Grosvenor London casinos, although that is now picking up again.
Spend per head in the bingo clubs was 15 per cent higher than in the same period of 2019 in bingo and 33 per cent higher in bingo club-located gaming machines.