Rank Has Tough Year
By Staff
British gambling group Rank, which operates Mecca Bingo, Grosvenor Casinos and the Blue Square online gambling group, has announced that revenues for 2007 were down nine percent to $1.06 billion from the previous year.

In addition, the giant revealed full-year pre-tax profits from continuing operations before one-offs fell to $103.84 million from 2006’s $107.02 million and blamed the current public smoking ban, higher taxation and the enforced removal of a thousand lucrative slot machines.

In common with some of its rivals, Rank’s BlueSquare.com Internet gambling division turned in a positive performance with revenues rising 14.9 percent to $103.44 million with operating profits well up to $21.64 million from the previous $15.49 million.

Rank stated that bingo like-for-like revenues in the first eight weeks of this year fell by 13.5 percent with those from casinos dropping by 13.4 percent.

”We expect 2008 to be a challenging year for Rank,” said Ian Burke, Chief Executive for Rank, speaking to Scottish newspaper ‘The Scotsman’.

'Our priority is to overcome the near-term issues facing our businesses.'

Burke defended the company's decision to transfer the management of its pension plans to Goldman Sachs, earning it at least $39 million and saving it more than $59 million in contribution costs. He pointed out that there were 20,000 people in the funds but only 600 of these were current employees.

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