Round Up – Mecca Profits And Halls And Government Rejection

There’s been a few stories the last week of interest to Playing Bingo readers out there, and I’ll give you a quick round-up and overview of the stories involved. First up is news from The Rank Group about their end of year trading figures. They’ve seen a slip in profits, but have managed to beat expectations are now talking about a stabilisation in their earnings following recent turmoils. You can read their full trading report here.

As we’ve seen across a number of operators, actual admissions are down. Fortunately though, for Mecca this 6% drop in admissions is offset by a 4% raise in spending per head. I’ve spotted this raise in spend per head trend across a couple of operators, and it does make me wonder if bingo is in danger of trying to wring too much from a shrinking pool of players. As I’ve said before, the concentration should be on getting more players in, not just getting more money out of those that already exist. It’s good to see their online bingo arm continuing to do well. Despite a continuing uncertainty, Rank seem well placed to keep things rolling along and are continuing to do their utmost to keep trading strong. Despite the headlines all saying profits are down, it’s sometime worth reminding people that profits are still being made, and that’s the important thing.

In other Mecca Bingo related news, I spotted a couple of stories around closed Mecca Bingo clubs and their proposed new uses. First up, the Fulham Mecca Bingo is to be turned into shops and student accommodation if the current planning application is approved. Another of Mecca’s club’s this time in Liverpool will soon be finding a new lease of life as a Tesco. Not just any old Tesco either, it will be the largest one in the city. The plans have already been approved and work is expected to commence in September. When I get a chance I will add a couple of pages to the Lost Halls section, feel free to email me any pictures you have of the halls in the meantime.

Moving away from Mecca Bingo and onto the wider retail game in general, MPs have once again been doing their bit to get the game in the eye of the Government and to get things changed. 56 MPs banded together to call for assistance for the failing industry. Unsurprisingly as the Government has spent all our money bailing out failing banks, it’s got none left to help the bingo industry. Calls to scrap VAT on bingo have been further knocked by Exchequer Secretary Angela Eagle who has rejected any cuts to VAT on the game and unsurprisingly told the industry that tax isn’t its main problem. I sort of have to agree with her, but frankly, if anyone was going to be bailed out I’d rather it was bingo than banks and car makers, bingo actually has something worth saving…

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