Marketing investment cuts into operating profits
Despite a 10 percent rise in half-year 2010 revenues to GBP27.4 million, UK land and gambling group Rank plc reported a 23 percent decline in operating profit to GBP2.3 million this week.
Management attributed the decline to marketing investment and product development, together with Italian and Spanish market start-up costs of GBP300 000.
Strong performers in the half year to end June were Mecca Bingo and the relaunched Gcasino brand, which continued to show encouraging growth.
Mecca Bingo recorded revenues up 20.7 percent to GBP19.8 million, thanks to bigger marketing investment that included a deal with Britain's Got Talent, a GBP700 000 television advertising campaign and improved cross-selling to customers from Mecca Bingo clubs.
Casino revenue rose 25 percent to GBP3 million, albeit from a low base, mainly as a result of cross-selling the online offering to customers of Rank’s land-based G Casino and Grosvenor Casinos.
Blue Square sportsbook revenues declined 18 percent to GBP3.6 million despite the football World Cup during the latter half of June, reflecting a diversion of marketing spend to MeccaBingo and GCasino.com.
Poker operations again produced a lacklustre performance, with revenues down 41 percent to GBP1 million, again a consequence of marketing being diverted, although sector-wide declines in the genre were also a factor.