RANK GROUP BATTLES ON
26 February 2010
Online gambling division among the
Full year 2009 results from the Rank Group showed small
improvements, although the online gambling division was
one of those that underperformed last year.
Nevertheless, investors will be pleased to hear that a
small dividend is in prospect after some tough times
with the UK gambling group.
totalled GBP 540 million, up 3.4 percent year-on-year
(2008 FY GBP 522.2 million), generating an EBITDA of GBP
58 million, or 4 percent lower than the corresponding
period in 2008.
The small improvement was mainly
due to the performance of the Grosvenor land casino
brand, where operating profit rose 19 percent to GBP
30.9 million. Other divisions fared less well, with the
online gambling operations reporting revenues down 3
percent to GBP 50.8 million which resulted in a fall in
operating profit of 1 percent to GBP 7.5 million.
It was not the only division to underperform;
operating profit at Mecca Bingo declined 15 percent to
GBP 32.3 million, and Top Rank Espana posted a decline
of 19 percent to GBP 5.6 million.
reported that current trading is strong with revenue
growth up 5 percent thanks to a good start by online
bingo and casino operations, which are up 9 percent, and
at Grosvenor casinos which are showing an increase of 14
The company statement noted: “The
current year is forecast to be a period of gradual, if
fragile, economic recovery in Britain, Rank’s key
In related news, Rank's directors have
suggested that the government consider a flat tax rate
of 15 percent for all UK betting and gaming, instead of
the current seven diverse tax rates.
company's 'Responsible Taxation - Fairness, Simplicity,
Sustainability' report argues the benefits of a flat
rate, which include ensuring a competitive equality with
overseas operators in more benevolent tax jurisdictions;
increasing UK tax income and creating jobs in the UK;
lower administrative costs in regard to tax compliance
and collection for operators and the Treasury alike.
Ian Burke, the company's chief executive says: “At
the moment the gaming and betting activities of UK
consumers are subject to a patchwork quilt of taxation,
without any apparent logic or relationship to social
policy. It is particularly concerning that the current
system of taxation seems to be undermining the aims of
the Gambling Act by imposing the highest rates of duty
on those venues which provide the greatest degree of
supervision and have the lowest rates of underage
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