Rank Group says business during the first six weeks of reopening has been in line with expectations, but London NGR has been impacted by the lack of tourism and fewer office workers.
UK.- Rank Group, which owns the Grosvenor Casinos and Mecca Bingo chains, has reported that business has been in line with expectations over the first six weeks since venues reopened in May.
In a trading update, it said that NGR from beyond London was similar to 2019 levels, but NGR in London was 38 per cent lower due to the lack of tourism, late-night travel difficulties and fewer office workers. It said it expected digital performance to remain level.
The company said in a statement: “The group’s venues are trading above cash breakeven and we expect trading to continue to improve as social distancing and international travel restrictions are eased, and when the current 10.30pm curfew is removed in Scotland.”
It also said it would “comfortably meet its £50m minimum liquidity test at 30 June 2021 and expects to continue to meet all future liquidity and financial covenant tests.”
The company is also in line for a windfall after the First-Tier Tax Tribunal ruled in its favour on its claim for a refund of overpaid VAT on slot machine income from April 2006 to January 2013. Rank expects to receive around £80m through the ruling.
William Hill, GVC (now Entain) and BetFred were also benefited after the UK revenue and customs (HMRC) confirmed it would not challenge a legal ruling on overpaid VAT on slots in May last year.
Rank Group is due to deliver preliminary results for the 12 months ending June 30 on August 19.
Last month, Rank launched a real-time safer gambling monitoring desk called Hawkeye.
The company said the system will enable it to more quickly detect signs of risky behaviour among online customers in order to intervene if necessary.
In April, the group appointed Katie McAlister to its board of directors as a non-executive director with immediate effect. She will also serve on Rank’s nominations, safer gambling and remuneration committees.