The Rank Group offers its own unique blend of experiences, branded venues and digital channels across the United Kingdom and Spain, this is one company that has made a name for itself in the gaming industry. Yet it hasn’t always been specifically about gambling because Rank has also had its foot firmly in the door when it comes to the cinema and motion picture industry. Today, it owns such prolific brands as Mecca Bingo and Grosvenor Casinos.
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An In-Depth Look at The Rank Group
If you want to know about the origins of The Rank Group, then you need to go back to before this company was even created. Your attention should be turned to one Joseph Arthur Rank, 1st Baron Rank. Born in Kingston-Upon-Hull in the United Kingdom, he was already a wealthy industrialist, thanks to his father owning a flour milling business entitled Joseph Rank Ltd. Yet rather focus solely on his father’s business, Joseph made a start in filmmaking, offering finances up to short religious topics, catering to his Methodist beliefs. The Rank Organisation was therefore founded in 1937, providing him with an opportunity to consolidate his filmmaking interests.
This company grew swiftly and considerably, thanks to a series of acquisitions. In 1938, it purchased Odeon Cinemas, before following that up with the purchase of Denham Film Studios the year after, which were merged with the facilities at Pinewood. Through a number of other purchases, the company became the UK’s most vertically integrated film company, and also diversified into the manufacture of radios, televisions and photocopiers. It continued on in such a way right the way through to the mid-90s.
It was in 1995 that The Rank Group was formed, as a way of acquiring the business interests of The Rank Organisation. The latter was to become a wholly owned subsidiary of Xerox, being renamed XRO Limited in 1997.
Once The Rank Group acquired the business interests, it had a huge number of leisure holdings to either utilise or disperse. The majority of the interests were divested at the beginning of the 21st century, starting with Pinewood Studios and the cinema chain that it had first purchased, Odeon. It proceeded with selling off its nightclub division, known as Rank Entertainment, and its interest in Universal Studios Florida, before disposing of the Rank film library to Carlton Communications.
It was in December 2005 that the company sold off its Deluxe Film media branch for £430 million, which brought to an end its 60-year association with the cinema and film industry. In the same moment, Rank became wholly focused on providing gambling services. Its remaining business interests centred on the Grosvenor and F Casinos, Top Rank and Mecca Bingo. Online gambling was also brought into the fore via Rank Interactive. This came about after the company acquired the Blue Square betting business back in 2003. The final non-gambling leisure business sold off came about in December of 2006, when Rank rid itself of the Hard Rock business to the Seminole Tribe of Florida for $965 million. The only exception to this was the London venue, which was instead rebranded as a G Casinos establishment.
Rank entered into the Spanish gaming market in 2011 with the launch of its Enracha site. Through that platform, Spanish players are able to access online gaming, bingo, live dealer options and more.
Rank became the United Kingdom’s largest casino operator in 2013, after it purchased 19 casinos from Gala Coral. It then went on to sell its Blue Square interactive gaming sector to Betfair in the same year, which had been launched in 1999.
As of January 2017, Mecca Bingo and The Rank Group announced that they had renewed their contract, guaranteeing the use of Playtech’s Virtue Fusion platform at the former site for an additional 10-year period.
Today, the company has the ambition of becoming a £1 billion revenue international gaming company, and it hopes to achieve this by 2023. In order to do so, it hopes to transform the business and consistently exceed the expectations of both its customers and shareholders.
Acquisitions by The Rank Group
When the company was The Rank Organisation, it succeeded by taking over a variety of other businesses, enabling it to grow considerably in a very short time period. That method of expanding has followed through to The Rank Group, which has also acquired various businesses and launched one or two original subdivisions to assist. Take a look at some of these takeovers.
- 2003 – The Rank Group acquires the Blue Square betting business for £65 million. Blue Square was founded in 1999 and allowed Rank to bolster its online operations. The company was sold on to the Betfair brand in 2013.
- 2009 – A Coventry-based casino at the Ricoh Arena was bought from Isle of Capri by Rank via the Grosvenor Casinos business for £650,000. The casino was relaunched under the G Casino brand of The Rank Group.
- 2012 – An agreement was reached between The Rank Group and Gala Coral for the former to purchase 23 casinos from the latter. That deal was worth £205 million, but the Competition Commission ruled that the deal could only go ahead if four venues were excluded from the agreement. Therefore, Rank purchased 19 establishments for £179 million in March 2013. This led to Rank being the largest casino operator in the UK.
- 2019 – The Rank Group completed its purchase of the Stride Gaming PLC company, a Jersey-based gaming operator. The deal for £115.3 million assisted Rank in becoming one of the online world’s best businesses.
As a result of the acquisitions and original launches, Rank has managed to grow its business considerably. All takeovers have been absorbed into its three main branches for the most part, which are Grosvenor Casinos (with over 50 casinos located in major cities and towns across the UK and two sister casinos in Belgium), Mecca Bingo (formerly known as Top Rank), and G Casinos. The Spanish arm of the company is entitled Enracha.
Any Fines or Sanctions?
As is the case with many other companies, The Rank Group has not managed to escape without being the victim of penalties or sanctions throughout its years of operation. Have a look at some of the fines and warnings it has received, and what for, below.
- 2018 – A £500,000 fine is imposed on The Rank Group by the UK Gambling Commission for failing to follow official rules on protecting problem gamblers at a land-based Grosvenor Casino and online at the grosvenorcasinos.com platform.
- 2021 – The Rank Group handed a penalty of £5.85 million by the UK Gambling Commission for social responsibility and anti-money laundering failures via subsidiary Daub Alderney.
- 2022 – Rank Digital was fined £700,000 by the Gambling Commission upon the discovery of social responsibility failings.
There is little doubt that The Rank Group has built itself up to be a multi-million-pound company over the years. So, what are the official figures relating to its financial status? Let’s take a look at some details from an official recent report:
- In the 12-month period up to the end of June 2020, the underlying net gaming revenue (NGR) of Rank Group stood at £638.1 million, a marked decrease on the figures from previous years. The impact of COVID-19 and the temporary closure of its land-based venues highlighted as a reason behind this.
- The underlying operating profit for the same period was £51.1 million, with the strong performance in the first half of the year severely offset by the loss of operating profit due to the pandemic.
- The underlying EBITDA for the same period stood at £126.6 million, marking an increase of 8% on the same timeframe in 2018-19. This came about following the adoption of IFRS 16 in the year.
Office Locations for The Rank Group
The primary headquarters of The Rank Group can be found in Maidenhead, Berkshire, the United Kingdom. However, it has other operating offices and bases, which can be found in the following locations:
- Sheffield, UK
- London, UK
- Ramat Gan, Israel
- Barcelona, Spain
- Cape Town, South Africa