Rank's online division loses £5 million in first year
By Paul
Rank Group last week announced a £5 million ($7.88 million) loss for its online Interactive Gaming division's first year of operation.

The company attributes the loss to the cost of in building up market share and the start-up costs of HardRockCasino.com which was launched in July.

The company, which bought online bookie Blue Square in January for £65m, said its Interactive Gaming division made a £5 million loss in 2002 on turnover of £2.4 million ($3.78 million).

Rank Interactive Gaming also includes the Rank.com site. The two sites combined had 75,000 registered customers at the end of December and annualised betting running at around £90 million ($142 million).

Several other gambling firms also released results last week, showing strong growth in their operations. Ladbrokes increased its online profits from £2 million ($3.15 million) to £11.2 million ($17.6 million) in its 2002 results, helped by growth on its two core sites, ladbrokes.com and ladbrokescasino.com as well as the launch of ladbrokespoker.com in May. Online turnover rose from £188.2 million ($296.85 million) to £390.3 million ($615.64 million).

Online revenues at Paddy Power, which covers both Internet and iTV betting, grew 195% to E102.8 million ($111.1 million) over the past year.

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