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Rank Group welcomes commitments in gambling legislation white paper

28th Apr 2023 14:35

(Alliance News) - Mecca bingo and Grosvenor Casinos owner Rank Group PLC on Friday said it welcomed the UK government's white paper setting out policy changes which will impact regulation of the gambling sector, with positive changes "more than offsetting" the potential negative effects.

Rank, a Maidenhead-based gambling company with operations in Great Britain, Spain and India, said it supported the government's objective of "striking the right balance" between consumer freedoms and protection from harm.

Rank noted the white paper's commitment to a "sliding scale" to determine permitted machine numbers based on venue size. It said most of its 50 casinos would consequently benefit from a wider variety of machines. Rank also welcomed other policies, such as changes to credit provision for international high net worth customers, and a review of digital payment methods in land-based venues.

Rank said that the proposed reduction in maximum betting limits for online slot machines, and the additional cost of the statutory levy, would negatively impact the group. However, it said the positive changes relating to its land-based operations would "more than [offset]" any potential issues.

"The public policy changes set out by the government are a constructive set of measures for the future of our industry and provide a firmer foundation for us to invest in our business. Whilst our UK digital business will be impacted by a tightening of regulation, our land-based operations will benefit from the proposed regulatory changes and, in net terms, the group will benefit," Chief Executive Officer John O'Reilly commented.

He added: "With public policy now set, attention shifts to the timeline for implementing these policy changes. Swift implementation of these much-needed reforms is vital for the land-based sector as we look to meet the needs of today's consumers whilst continuing to uphold our commitment to safer gambling."

On Thursday last week, Rank reported increased revenue in its third quarter and said it expected annual underlying like-for-like operating profit to be "slightly ahead" of guidance.

Rank's shares were down 0.3% at 93.68 pence in London on Friday afternoon.

By Emma Curzon, Alliance News reporter

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