Mecca Bingo

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Mecca Bingo
Limited company
Industry Gambling
Founded 1961
Headquarters Maidenhead
Area served
United Kingdom
Key people
Alan Morgan – Managing Director
Products Bingo clubs
Revenue £221.5m (2015/16)
£32.9m (2015/16)
Parent The Rank Group
Website www.meccabingo.com

Mecca Bingo (formerly called Top Rank) is a UK-based company and operator of 86 bingo clubs located across major towns and cities. Mecca Bingo is owned by The Rank Group, which operates bingos, casinos and online gaming industries across Belgium, Spain and the UK. Rank Group also own Grosvenor Casinos and Enracha. Mecca Bingo was established in 1961, and its headquarters is in Maidenhead.[1] An extension of the Mecca Bingo brand includes meccabingo.com and a number of mobile apps. Mecca Bingo is the largest National Bingo Game operator in the UK.

As of June 2015, Mecca Bingo’s revenue was recorded at £224.4 million, with an operating profit of £28.9 million.[2] The Rank Group reports there are one million customers who visit Mecca each year, with £65.2 million revenue generated from digital. The Mecca network currently employs more than 11,000 people across the UK.[3] Their halls host traditional and electronic versions of bingo, including slot-style games. Mecca are licensed and regulated by the UK Gambling Commission and the Alderney Gambling Control Commission.

History[edit]

Eric Morley, British TV host and founder of the Miss World pageant, is accredited with popularising the game of bingo in the United Kingdom during the early sixties, as a tactic to fill the UK’s dance halls. In 1952, he was Mecca's general manager of dancing, and was made a director in 1953. With Mecca, Morley helped to popularise bingo which was played at Mecca venues throughout the United Kingdom. He changed the company from a small catering and dancing firm into a leading entertainment and catering company in the UK. A director of the company from 1953 up until 1978, Morley left the business after a disagreement with its then parent company, Grand Metropolitan.[4]

In 1990, the Rank Organisation made an offer of £512m to acquire Mecca Leisure Group. This was initially rejected, then accepted two months later.[5] In 2007, Mecca Bingo and its parent company suffered significant losses, attributed to the implementation of the smoking ban in the UK. Rank shut nine Mecca Bingo clubs, with 230 people losing their jobs.[6] In 2015, Mecca Bingo launched a marketing campaign featuring a twerking cactus. The campaign adverts helped to increase Mecca’s digital sales by 18 per cent, year on year, in the 20 weeks to 17 May.[7]

Technology[edit]

In March 2014, Mecca Bingo set out plans to equip a number of its clubs with new tablet devices, for use by customers, after the UK Government announced tax on bingo would fall from 20 per cent to 10 per cent.[8]

Controversy[edit]

On 25 December 1997, members of the Muslim community in Luton were outraged by a local bingo hall changing its name from ‘Top Rank’ to ‘Mecca,’ which is also the name of the holiest Islamic city. Protesters, angered by the link between the holy city and the practice of gambling, threw bricks through the bingo hall’s windows, causing £3000 of damage.[9] Subsequently company management said the 'Mecca' name would be dropped from the bingo hall as a result of the unrest and offence caused.[10] However as of 2016, some 19 years on, the company's own branch locator on their website confirms that the Mecca brand is still being used in Luton.

In December 2015, Mecca Bingo was ordered to forfeit nearly £1 million after allowing a woman to spend up to £50,000 a month on her gambling addiction.[11]

Awards[edit]

Mecca Bingo was awarded ‘Bingo Operator of the Year’ at the 2016 International Gaming Awards.[12] It won the same award in 2014 and 2015, with Rank Group also winning ‘Socially Responsible Operator of the Year Land Based’.[13][14]

Mecca Bingo won two awards at the 2016 EGR Innovation and Marketing Awards:[15] ‘Best Native App’ and ‘Innovation in Bingo’ for their Emoji Bingo game – an App that swaps bingo balls for emojis.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Our Business - Rank Group Plc". www.rank.com. Retrieved 2016-09-12. 
  2. ^ "Mecca - Rank Group Plc". www.rank.com. Retrieved 2016-09-12. 
  3. ^ "Meet the man trying to breathe new life into bingo". Retrieved 2016-09-12. 
  4. ^ "The Long History Of Mecca Bingo". 2009-12-10. Retrieved 2016-09-12. 
  5. ^ "The Rank Group plc - Company Profile, Information, Business Description, History, Background Information on The Rank Group plc". www.referenceforbusiness.com. Retrieved 2016-09-12. 
  6. ^ Kollewe, Julia (2007-03-03). "Mecca Bingo halls struggle in face of all-out smoking ban". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2016-09-12. 
  7. ^ "This is how a dancing cactus has helped boost business at Mecca bingo". 2015-05-21. Retrieved 2016-09-12. 
  8. ^ "Bingo clubs take the tablets after tax boost". Retrieved 2016-09-12. 
  9. ^ "Mecca bingo hall outrages Muslims". 1998-01-07. Retrieved 2016-09-12. 
  10. ^ "Mecca bingo hall drops name after Muslim protests". BBC. 1998-01-14. Retrieved 2016-09-12. 
  11. ^ "Bets pay off for Mecca bingo owner Rank Group". Retrieved 2016-09-12. 
  12. ^ "IGA Winners 2016". 2015-12-01. Retrieved 2016-09-12. 
  13. ^ "IGA Winners 2014". 2014-01-02. Retrieved 2016-09-12. 
  14. ^ "IGA Winners 2015". 2015-01-22. Retrieved 2016-09-12. 
  15. ^ "Winners". Retrieved 2016-09-12. 

External links[edit]