The Rank Group

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The Rank Group plc
Type Public (LSERNK)
Industry Gaming
Founded 1995
Headquarters Maidenhead, Berkshire, UK
Number of locations 150 licensed outlets
Area served
Key people Ian Burke Chairman & Group CEO
Revenue £596.2 million (2013)[1]
Operating income £69.9 million (2013)[1]
Net income £27.0 million (2013)[1]
Website www.rank.com

The Rank Group plc is a European gambling and leisure business. Rank’s principal market and headquarters are in the United Kingdom, where it operates Grosvenor Casinos (35 casinos), Mecca Bingo (98 bingo clubs) and Rank Interactive (online gaming and betting). In addition, Rank operates in Spain as Top Rank España (11 bingo clubs) and in Belgium as Grosvenor Casinos (two casinos). It is also listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index.

History[edit]

The company was formed to acquire the business interests of the Rank Organisation which itself was formed out of the business interests of its founder, J. Arthur Rank.[2]

Until the start of the 21st century, the group still had a tremendous amount of leisure holdings; however, as the decade progressed they sold their interests in Pinewood Studios[3] and the Odeon cinema chain.[4] It also divested itself of its engineering companies such as its share in Rank Xerox, selling Rank Leisure Machine Services to Gametec plus all its Butlins, Warner and Haven Holidays holiday and recreation facilities, which were all sold to Bourne Leisure.[5] They then sold off their nightclub division Rank Entertainment as well as their share of interest in Universal Studios Florida and disposed of their vast Rank film library to Carlton Communications with whom they had recently also sold their Rank Advertising Film Division.

In December 2005, as Rank sold Deluxe Film (formerly Rank Film Laboratories) for £400m, it effectively ended their sixty-year association with the film and cinema business.[6] This meant Rank Leisure had become focussed on their gaming operations with their remaining business interests concentrating on Grosvenor and G Casinos, Top Rank and Mecca Clubs, and online gaming through Rank Interactive after the company acquired the Blue Square gaming business in 2003.[7]

Finally leaving all non-gaming leisure behind, in December 2006, Rank sold the Hard Rock business, excluding the London casino venue which was rebranded to a G casino, to the Seminole Tribe of Florida for US$965 million.[8] In May 2012 Rank bought 23 casinos from Gala Coral, which, if approved by shareholders and the regulator will make it the biggest operator of casinos in the UK.[9]

Operations[edit]

Mecca[edit]

Mecca is a UK-based social and bingo club leisure company, with sites located across the UK in most major towns and cities.[10] The company also operates Meccabingo.com and Meccagames.com as an extension of the Mecca Bingo brand.

Blue Square[edit]

Blue Square logo

Blue Square is Rank's interactive gaming business launched on 5 May 1999. Originally a traditional bookmaking business, Blue Square's services now include an online casino, slots and online poker.

In 2001 and 2002 Blue Square opened a betting market on races involving snails, hamsters and alligators.[11]

Since the start of the 2007–08 football season, Blue Square has sponsored the Football Conference, the highest level of non-league football in England.[12]

From 2010 to 2013 the league was called Blue Square Bet (Blue Square Bet Premier / Blue Square Bet North / Blue Square Bet South) and known by fans as the Blue Square Group.

In April 2013 Blue Square was sold to the[13]Betfair group for £5 Million. Betfair closed the Blue Square business the following day and the brand no longer exists.

Grosvenor Casinos[edit]

Established in 2007, Grosvenor Casinos (formerly Soames Casino) is a UK-based chain of over thirty casinos located in major towns and cities across the UK with two sister casinos located in Belgium.[14] In 2010 the group had an active membership of 1 million customers across their 35 UK clubs under the Grosvenor brand.[15]

In March 2013 the Rank Group announced that it had conditionally agreed to purchase 19 Gala Casinos from the Gala Coral Group[16] in a £179 million deal. With the addition of the 19 casinos and a further three non-operating licenses The Rank Group will become the largest casino operator in Great Britain with 54 casinos.

enRacha[edit]

enRacha is Rank’s Interactive Spanish gaming site launched on 2011. enRacha offers a wide range of Spanish card games, online slots, skill games and casino and poker games.[17]

References[edit]

External links[edit]