Mecca Bingo Owners Get OK for Rank-Coral Merger

  • 28 Feb 13
  • Written by Deena Chance

altWe are sure our readers will remember the articles we’ve posted over the past months about the delay of the planned Rank-Coral merger. Rank, who also own Mecca Bingo and Grosvenor Casinos, have been patiently awaiting a decision from the Competition Commission after their plans to merge Rank and Gala-Coral were thwarted by the Office of Fair Trading back in August 2012. Concerned that a merger of two of the three biggest UK operators (with Genting being the third) would result in a poorer deal for consumers, and make it hard for third parties to provide serious competition, the Competition Commission have been investigating whether it is feasible to alter the proposed deal (allowing healthy competition to remain) to allow it to go ahead.

The Mecca Bingo parent company has received some very good news this month, as the Competition Commission has given them the nod to go ahead and acquire 19 casinos currently belonging to Gala Coral, as well as 3 non-operating licences. Originally, Rank planned to takeover all 23 of Gala Coral’s UK casinos, but the CC have decided that for now, they must be retained.

In a statement earlier this month, a spokesperson for Rank confirmed that the Competition Commission had completed its review, and at the deal can now go ahead if Gala’s casinos in Cardiff, Bristol, Aberdeen, and Stockton-on-Tees were not included. Gala will also retain ownership of its casino in Gibraltar, as well as two cold licences, and its online casino site. The ruling also requires Rank to sell a cold licence in Edinburgh, for which they currently own the right to operate, but do not have a premises.

The former heavyweight of UK operators, Genting, will now see Rank leapfrog them, with a mighty 54 casinos in total, compared to Malaysian-owned Genting owning just 45.

For the meantime, both Mecca Bingo and Gala Bingo’s online sites will remain with their respective current owners, and continue to provide excitement and entertainment to hundreds of thousands of bingo-lovers around the UK.

Watch our readers think about this latest development regarding the Rank-Coral merger? Are you sad to see the majority of Gala Coral casinos go, to be replaced by Rank-owned clubs? Alternatively, perhaps you think that the new Rank-owned clubs will provide a better level of entertainment and service than their previous owners? Leave us a comment below and let us know what you think.

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