Green light for reduced Rank casino acquisition

Green light for reduced Rank casino acquisition

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Many popular poker venues throughout the UK could be in line for a makeover after the Competition Commission approved the majority of the deal that will see British gambling giant Rank Group purchase the land-based casino estate of the rival Gala Coral Group.

Rank announced in May 2012 that it would spend £205 million to take over of the 23 Gala bricks-and-mortar casinos in addition to a trio of cold licences.

The proposed deal would have seen Rank become the largest casino operator in the UK with 57 venues and 44 percent of the market.

The Office of Fair Trading had concerns that the deal would 'substantially reduce competition in the casino sector’ though and sent the deal to the Competition Commission in August.

The Competition Commission has now judged that the takeover may go ahead as long as Gala Casinos in Aberdeen, Stockton-On-Tees, Bristol and Cardiff are not included. The Commission also said that Rank must offload its cold licence in Edinburgh to an upfront buyer it has already approved in order to claim the Gala site in the Scottish capital.

“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,” said Martin Cave, Rank/Gala Inquiry Group Chairman and Deputy Chairman for the Competition Commission. “The excluded casinos are all profitable and so we believe that they will continue to act as viable competitors to Rank in these areas.”

Tags: Rank Group, business, Gala Coral