altAccording to financial news website, ShareCast, the owners of Mecca Bingo have been feeling the chill on their third quarter revenues. The Rank Group’s share prices took a dive on Monday, 13th May 2013, after they announced their fall in third quarter profits due to bad weather earlier in the spring. Share prices tumbled by just over 6%, and the company has said its full-year figures are likely to fall “marginally below” last year’s.

Rank Group’s chairman and chief exec, Ian Burke, stated that it came as no surprise that the majority of their venues were “affected by the persistent freezing weather conditions.”

Rank Group operates a number of land-based clubs and online gaming sites, including Grosvenor Casinos, Mecca Bingo, Enracha, and the newly-acquired Gala Casino chain. Grosvenor runs 54 British casinos, 2 Belgian casinos, plus a mobile and online website; they saw LFL (like-for-like) sales fall by 5%, experienced a 5% drop in footfall, and a 1% decrease in spend per visit. Rank’s 97 UK Mecca Bingo halls also saw LFL revenue drop by 1% during the third quarter as, although spend per visit was up 3%, visitor numbers had dropped by 7%.

However, it wasn’t all bad news as Rank’s Spanish operator, Enracha, which owns 11 clubs around Spain, announced a 1% increase in like-for-like sales.

Rank Group, who sold Blue Square Betting to Betfair for £5m last month, says that they’ve made “major progress” with their long-term strategy following the acquisition of Gala Casinos, by increasing their focus on growth areas such as digital and casino venues. Therefore, they say that they “remain confident” in the Group’s long-term growth prospects.

Hopefully, Betfair are feeling equally confident that their decision to take on the ailing Blue Square online bookies works out in the long term. Despite sponsoring the non-League Football Conference for a six-year stint, it’s not expected that Betfair will continue the sponsorship deal next season. Rather than continue operating under the Blue Square name, Betfair migrated all players over to their own site, giving them access to an additional 120,000 customers. Rank Group certainly haven’t been left with a hole to fill following the takeover, as they’ve been busy buying up 19 Gala Coral casinos, and are intending to focus on developing their Mecca Bingo and Grosvenor Casino businesses. However, we’re sure they’ll be keeping a close eye on the weather forecast to see if some summer sunshine can give a much-needed boost to their third quarter revenues…