Land Casino expansion for Rank

The UK online and land gambling group plans to spend GBP50 million on 10 new casinos

British gaming firm Rank plc plans to spend GBP 50 million to expand its casino operations by a third, a company spokesman revealed over the weekend.

The company aims to build at least five casinos in northern and central England over the next two years at a cost of GBP23 million, with another five to be rolled out later, the spokesman said, confirming a Mail on Sunday newspaper report.

Rank, owner of the Mecca bingo hall and Grosvenor land and internet casino chains, last week said revenues grew across all its businesses in the first half as customer numbers rose and as average customer spending per visit also gained (see previous InfoPowa report).

The company currently operates 35 casinos and 103 bingo halls, along with a large Internet stable of online gambling websites.

Ian Burke, Rank's chief executive, said the group would bid for a new casino in Newham – the first under the Government's 2005 plans for eight new large and eight new small casinos.

The gaming boss also called for regulations for the new casinos to be extended to the existing ones, pointing out that Rank's Victoria casino on the Edgware Road is only allowed 20 slot machines – whereas it would be allowed 150 under the new rules.

Rank added that revenues were up at clubs it has refitted to target younger players with a "noisier area" and a new menu.

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