Shropshire Star

Mecca bingo customer figures fall due to pandemic

Visitor numbers to Mecca bingo sites were hit by the rise in new Covid-19 cases in the first three months of this year.

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Customer numbers at Mecca bingo clubs have been down

Owner the Rank Group reported that net gaming revenue for the quarter to the end of March was £156.4 million – up 221 per cent on the same period in 2021 when Mecca and Grosvenor casino venues were closed due to the pandemic.

Grosvenor, which has just refurbished its casino at Bentley Mill Way, Walsall, contributed £69.1m with Mecca, which has venues across the Black Country and in Telford, at £34.1m.

UK digital contributed £40m which was down one per cent on 12 months earlier.

Rank said that against the non-Covid-19 affected third quarter in 2019, Grosvenor venues' net gaming revenue was down 14 per cent and Mecca venues down 25 per cent.

It said that whilst the recovery was taking time, it believed that in the medium term there remained a strong path to recovery to the pre-Covid-19 levels.

In Grosvenor Rank anticipates an improvement in performance after April, but it remains to be seen how the trends in the rate of return of office workers to city centres and overseas customers to London will develop towards the summer.

Rank has updated its earnings before tax expectations for 2021-2022 to a range of £47m to £55m from its previous expectations of £55m to £65m.

Chief executive John O'Reilly said: "The performance of our venues softened in March, and this has continued into the first few weeks of the fourth quarter, impacting our current expectations for our full year performance.

"We recognise the pressures on UK consumers but are confident that the improvements we are continuing to make to the customer proposition and the investments in our venues, alongside the gradually reducing impact of the pandemic and, with it, the return of overseas customers, position us well for the year ahead."