Mecca Bingo owner shakes off post-Covid slump as players spend more

18 April 2024, 11:14

A Mecca Bingo hall
Coronavirus – Mon May 17, 2021. Picture: PA

Sales at Mecca were 12% higher in the first three months of the year, compared with the same period a year ago.

The owner of Mecca Bingo has said more people have visited its bingo clubs and spent more money as it shakes off its post-pandemic woes and enjoys a boost in online players.

Rank Group, which also owns casino chain Grosvenor, reported a 6% jump in net gaming revenue to £182.3 million in the first three months of the year, compared with the same period a year ago.

Sales at Mecca venues leapt 12% on a like-for-like basis, which excludes the effects of club closures and openings that could skew the comparison.

Coronavirus – Mon May 17, 2021
Sales at Rank Group’s Grosvenor Casinos were up by 3%, with a 5% increase in visitor numbers (Jane Barlow/PA)

It said this surge was driven by a 5% rise in customer visits and a 7% increase in spend per visit, meaning both the volume and value of sales went up.

Mecca has more than 50 bingo clubs across the UK, and also runs online bingo rooms.

The improved performance comes after the chain saw a slow recovery from the pandemic, with its older customers more reluctant to return to the venues.

It shut a number of sites after falling to a heavy loss last year, but has since bounced back to report a profit.

Sales at Grosvenor Casinos, which has about 50 venues across the UK and offers sports betting as well as dining and experiences, were up by 3% with a 5% rise in visitor numbers.

Across its digital operations, revenues grew by 6%, driven largely by sales in Spain and Mecca online bingo in the UK jumping by a fifth.

Grosvenor online revenues were hit by a weaker gaming margin which it said was a result of “some big customer wins” – meaning the company had to pay out more to lucky punters.

Rank chief executive John O’Reilly said: “Performance continues to improve, and we have the very important land-based reforms from the Government’s White Paper to look forward to, which we hope to start implementing in the coming months.”

Last spring the Government launched its Gambling White Paper, which included reforms to casino venues.

By Press Association