Rank blames National Lottery for cutbacks

NIGEL COPE

The damaging impact of the National Lottery on other areas of leisure spending was underlined yesterday when Rank Organisation announced a fall in bingo admissions and the closure of 14 clubs with the loss of 375 jobs.

Rank said admissions were down by 3 per cent in the eight months to June but had fallen by as much as 15 per cent in smaller clubs. Consequently 10 per cent of the group's outlets were closed in July and August.

Rank blamed the closures on the launch of the "instants" scratch card game in March. Although weekly sales of instants had fallen from a peak of pounds 42m a week in May to pounds 23m last week, Rank's recreation director, John Garrett, said the impact was still considerable.

Mr Garrett blamed the Government for failing to act faster in the de- regulation of the gaming industry. "The Government preaches free competition but it doesn't act that way," he said. He warned of more job losses if the de-regulation process was not speeded up.

Rank's announcement follows 320 redundancies at Littlewoods' pools business, which is due to close its Cardiff office in November. Last month Ladbroke cut 200 job at its racing division. However, the August distributive trades survey yesterday said the lottery had had a neutral effect on retail sales.

Rank also said it had made a formal complaint to Oflot, the lottery regulator, claiming the odds on the scratch card games were worse than portrayed and were "an outrageous con". However, Oflot had said there was no case to answer. Rank said it was still considering launching its own charity lottery.

Mr Garrett was speaking as Rank announced pre-tax profits up from pounds 32m to pounds 450m in the eight months to July, though the figures were inflated by profits of pounds 286m from the sale of part of its Rank Xerox stake.

The recreation division saw profits fall from pounds 33m to pounds 24m, partly due to a run of bad luck at its Claremont Casino in London. The film and television division did better though UK admissions at Odeon cinemas were down by 11 per cent due to the lack of popular films during the period.

The holidays division, which includes Butlins, saw patchy demand in the early summer but improved trading in the school holidays. Group sales from continuing operations improved by 4 per cent to pounds 1.3bn. The interim dividend was lifted 12 per cent to 4.75p.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
election 2015The 10 best quotes of the campaign
News
A caravan being used as a polling station in Ford near Salisbury, during the 2010 election
election 2015The Independent's guide to get you through polling day
News
people
Voices
David Blunkett joins the Labour candidate for Redcar Anna Turley on a campaigning visit last month
voicesWhat I learnt from my years in government, by the former Home Secretary David Blunkett
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Ashdown Group: Editor-in-chief - Financial Services - City, London

£60000 - £70000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Guru Careers: Management Accountant

£27 - 35k + Bonus + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Management Accountant is needed ...

Guru Careers: Project Manager / Business Analyst

£40-50k + Benefits.: Guru Careers: A Project Manager / Business Analyst is nee...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'