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Last Updated: Thursday, 30 August 2007, 09:57 GMT 10:57 UK
Rain brings boost to Rank betting
Mecca Bingo
The smoking ban has hit business at bingo halls
Wet summer weather and strong growth at the Blue Square internet business have helped to lift half-year results from gaming group Rank.

Revenues for the six months to 30 June were up 2.3% to 284.6m, with adjusted pre-tax profits up to 37.3m from 21.9m in the same period last year.

The damp weather helped business at Rank's Mecca Bingo halls.

Rank also said it was "encouraged" by sales at its Mecca halls in England since the smoking ban began on 1 July.

Smoking impact

While like-for-like revenues at the bingo halls in England were down 4.4% since the start of the ban, the fall was not as severe as had been seen in Scotland when the ban was introduced there in 2006.

Revenues at the Mecca Bingo business overall slipped to 132.5m for the first six months of the year, while Rank's Grosvenor Casinos business saw revenues edge up to 110.1m.

The fast-growing Blue Square internet business saw revenues jump 40% to 26.2m.

However, Rank warned that the second half of the year would "prove more challenging".

This was due mainly to the impact of the smoking ban, which is now in place across the UK, and also because of changes in the law regarding gaming machines.

Casino tax rise hits Rank shares
22 Mar 07 |  Business
Smoking ban continues to hit Rank
02 Mar 07 |  Business

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