Britain's competition regulator today gave the green light for Rank to complete its takeover of Gala Casinos.
The Competition Commission said the deal could go ahead — nine months after it was first agreed — provided some changes are made to the small print.
The £205 million deal was originally expected to add 23 UK casinos to Rank’s 35-strong chain, making it Britain’s biggest casino operator.
However, the regulator said casinos in Aberdeen, Stockton-on-Tees, Bristol and Cardiff must not be included.
Rank must also sell the licence it holds in Edinburgh to a buyer approved by the commission or it will also be prohibited from buying the Gala casino in the city.
Both companies said they would now review the terms of the deal.
Professor Martin Cave, deputy chairman of the commission, said: “We think that removing the casinos in problem areas from the deal and requiring Rank to sell the Edinburgh cold licence to an upfront buyer will protect the interests of customers.
“The excluded casinos are all profitable and so we believe that they will continue to act as viable competitors to Rank in these areas.”