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Budget triggers bingo investment

Rank’s plans for three new bingo clubs and new programme of modernisation as a result of Chancellor’s announcement on bingo duty

The Rank Group Plc has committed to a programme of investment and job creation in its bingo clubs as a consequence of the Budget announcement that bingo duty would be halved from 20% to 10%.

Rank, which currently operates 97 Mecca Bingo clubs across Great Britain, revealed that as a result of the duty change it was now able to invest in the modernisation of the bingo industry through the development of three new clubs and by updating existing clubs. In addition, the change will secure the future of a number of existing clubs.

Rank Group chief executive, Ian Burke said: “The duty reduction is an important boost for Britain’s bingo clubs, which provide a range of social and economic benefits for the communities they serve. By reducing the rate of bingo duty, the Government has created a basis for renewed investment and innovation. As well as helping us to create and preserve jobs, the change in duty will bring a range of benefits for our customers, including improved amenities, better value and more fun. ”

Rank has identified a number of towns and cities in Britain where it would like to develop new clubs. Now the Group will complete more detailed market research, commercial negotiations, planning and licensing.

Importantly, the new clubs will be used as a base for innovation, testing new concepts and new technologies to reposition its bingo clubs for the future. Rank’s hope is that this process of innovation, research and development will trigger successive rounds of reinvestment nationwide.

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Notes to editors

  • The last three new bingo clubs developed by Rank each generated around £1.5m per year in terms of taxes and business rates. They also provided employment for between 39 and 48 team members. Capital investment levels for new clubs have historically been in the range of £2.8m to £5.0m.
  • Rank estimates that the change in the bingo duty will help the company to create more than 200 new jobs. In addition, many more jobs will be safeguarded.
  • A new modernisation programme will involve at least £6m of additional capital investment over the next three years.
  • Rank’s last new bingo club was opened in Beeston, Nottingham in 2009.
  • Prior to the change in duty, no investment in new bingo clubs was planned.
  • The number of licensed bingo clubs in Great Britain has fallen significantly over the last decade with hundreds of closures and only a handful of new openings.
  • Research has shown that the closure of bingo clubs has profound negative consequences on the communities that they serve.