Rank Group plc

Rank Group plc

Rank Group plc has been a household name in the entertainment and gaming world since 1935. Lord Joseph Arthur Rank founded Rank as a motion picture company. Rank had their hands in all aspects of the motion picture industry.

In the 1950’s, Rank merged with Xerox to expand beyond Great Britain. They further dabbled in other areas of cinema and film and became key players in both Hollywood and the UK. Through their various holdings, Rank had control of production, distribution, and the cinemas within the UK. The government considered Rank a monopoly and thus a high tax was placed on their various operations. In response, Rank diversified their businesses further by closing down cinemas and converting them into bingo parlours. They also branched out into the hotel industry as well as the television industry.

In 1990, Rank Group acquired Mecca Leisure Group. This acquisition gave Rank Group control of the Hard Rock Café, as well as 85 additional bingo parlours, a number of hotels, and theme parks in addition to Rank Xerox.

In 1996, Rank Group plc sold Xerox and invested quite heavily in its Hard Rock brand as well as pubs and restaurants in the UK. The group suffered financially after the Xerox sale and were in desperate need of regrouping themselves.

Rank’s transition into gaming & bingo

At the turn of the century, Rank turned their focus primarily to gaming and their Hard Rock brand. They sold off businesses that did not fit their new focus and bought London’s Park Tower Casino. They also stepped into the booming world of online gaming and later rolled out Blue Square Ltd.

During this time, they rebranded their bingo halls from Top Rank to Mecca Clubs and became the largest land based casino operators in the UK. They also took their Mecca Bingo brand online in the form of Meccabingo.com. Rank Groups’ successes online was nowhere near that of their brick and mortar counterparts. The online version of Mecca Bingo was always average at best.

From middle of the pack to tops in the industry

Today, Mecca Bingo’s digital site is still mediocre at best. Their online division produced £79.9 million in revenue for the year while their 82 land based clubs Mecca Bingo earned £202.1 million. The figures for Rank’s online business do not reflect the purchase of Stride Gaming in 2019. The addition of Stride Gaming’s platform and brands, however, make Rank Group an automatic #1 contender in the digital market, as Stride Gaming through their Daub-Alderney bingo brands are amongst the leaders in the online bingo market.

The addition of Stride gives Rank Group top bingo brands such as Lucky Pants Bingo, Give Back Bingo, Kitty Bingo, and Bingo Extra to add to their portfolio. These brands run on their own proprietary gaming software. In addition to the proprietary brands, this gives Rank a great number of white label bingo sites powered by 888’s Dragonfish bingo platform.

Rank Group plc has reinvented themselves a few times over. All the while, they have remained relevant to their business interests. Today, Rank are amongst the top three names in online bingo in the UK. As they are a well-run and diverse publicly traded company, Rank Group plc receives an A- mark in their character and trust rating.

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