The Rank Group

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
The Rank Group plc
Public (LSERNK)
Industry Gambling
Predecessor Rank Organisation
Founded 1995
Headquarters Maidenhead, Berkshire, UK
Number of locations
152 (UK)
2 (Belgium)
10 (Spain)
Area served
Key people
Henry Birch, CEO
Ian Burke, Chairman
Revenue £678.5 million (2014)[1]
£72.4 million (2014)[1]
£20.2 million (2014)[1]
Website www.rank.com

The Rank Group plc today is a British gambling and leisure company, with operations in the United Kingdom, Belgium and Spain. It is best remembered for the cinema and motion picture industry that it ran until 2006, but it continues to proudly use the Gongman logo first used by the Rank Organisation's film distribution subsidiary General Film Distributors.

Rank’s principal market and headquarters are in the United Kingdom, where it operates Grosvenor Casinos (56 casinos), Mecca Bingo (96 bingo clubs) and Rank Interactive (online gaming and betting). In addition, Rank operates in Spain as Top Rank España (10 bingo clubs) and in Belgium as Grosvenor Casinos (two casinos).

The Rank Group is 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]

In April 2013, the group sold its Blue Square interactive gaming business, first launched in 1999, to Betfair.[10]

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.[11] The company also operates Meccabingo.com and Meccagames.com as an extension of the Mecca Bingo brand.

As of July 2014, the Rank Group, owners of Mecca Bingo, signed a deal with Evolution Gaming to provide its Live Dealer Roulette services. Evolution Gaming is a leader in providing a range of Live Dealer Casino Games. Since it is also a numbers based game, Roulette has generated a significant amount of revenue for the online bingo brand among its casino game offerings available on its website. Mecca Bingo’s success with Roulette and Evolution Gaming’s reputation in the industry made the partnership a practical one.

Mecca Bingo now provides players with a new Roulette experience. Rather than the reliance on the Random Number Generator (RNG) with online and mobile app versions, players now interact with a Live Dealer. Live Dealer Roulette is available on both desktop and mobile iOS and Android platforms.[12]

Controversy[edit]

On December 25, 1997, many Muslims were angered at the name of the company due to it also being the name for their holiest city and that it was the name for a gambling company as gambling is strictly forbidden in Islam. Bricks were thrown through windows at the hall, causing £3,000 of damage. On January 6, 1998, a meeting was held. Hazel Simmons, chairwoman of equal opportunities at Luton Borough Council, said; "We are aware of a groundswell of public opinion and I personally believe this to be insensitive in what is now a truly multicultural society." However, Mecca Bingo said that the name change was not insensitive and was part of a policy of bringing their nationwide chain of bingo halls under one name. Sergeant Peter Shepherd said; "It was unrealistic to expect that anything definite could be resolved at the meeting, but at least it was constructive to have the dialogue."[13]

Grosvenor Casinos[edit]

Established in 2007, Grosvenor Casinos (formerly County Clubs) 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 57 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]

Technology[edit]

In January 2015 Rank announced that it would move to a new technology platform supplied by Bede Gaming.[18] The public announcement said the rationale for a new platform is to give greater control, flexibility and speed in integrating third party and retail content and functionality. The platform will integrate Rank's digital and land based businesses to allow a single view of the customer.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Preliminary Results 2014" (PDF). The Rank Group. Retrieved 3 April 2015. 
  2. ^ Rank Group: Chronology
  3. ^ Rank sells UK's flagship Pinewood studios
  4. ^ Rank sells Odeon Cinema Chain to Cinven for £280m
  5. ^ "Rank set to sell Butlins resorts". This is Money. Retrieved 3 April 2015. 
  6. ^ "The Independent - 404". The Independent. Retrieved 3 April 2015. 
  7. ^ "UK Rank Buys Blue Square". casinocitytimes.com. Retrieved 3 April 2015. 
  8. ^ "BBC NEWS - Business - Seminole tribe in Hard Rock deal". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 3 April 2015. 
  9. ^ "Mecca Bingo owner Rank buys Gala casinos for £205m". BBC News. Retrieved 3 April 2015. 
  10. ^ "BRIEF-Rank sells Blue Square Bet business to Betfair". Reuters. 2 April 2013. Retrieved 29 January 2015. 
  11. ^ Meccabingo: Profile
  12. ^ "Evolution Gaming’s Live Deal Roulette Available at Mecca Bingo". latestbingobonuses.com. 1 August 2014. 
  13. ^ "Mecca bingo hall outrages Muslims". The Independent. Retrieved 3 April 2015. 
  14. ^ Grosvenor Casinos: Profile
  15. ^ "The Rank Group". GuidetoUKCasinos.com. Retrieved 3 April 2015. 
  16. ^ Gala Coral Group
  17. ^ Spanish Network Launches
  18. ^ "Rank half yearly report". Investegate. 29 January 2015. 

External links[edit]