|Gambling and leisure group Rank’s punt on online betting operator Blue Square has paid off, but will become more important from next month on, chief executive Mike Smith said, on announcing Rank’s half-year results on Saturday.|
The acquisition of Blue Square was Rank’s first move into online betting, and the books seem to vindicate the move – the company turned a profit for the first time at the end of last year, adding £149.4 million to Rank’s total turnover of £422.6m, up 28 per cent year-on-year.
However, Smith said: 'Whilst the initial integration of Blue Square and Rank.com was completed in the first half, the more important developments take place from next month.'
Cross marketing is Rank's online strategy from now, with Rank’s online games re-launched as MeccaGames.com. Smith added: 'Then the systems will allow genuine cross-marketing between the customer bases from a single account, which will coincide with strong promotional activity to our existing 1.8m casino and bingo customers.”
The integration of Blue Square had met the projected target of an annual cost savings of £5 million, though there was a one-off cost of £6 million for the integration.