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Rank revenue hit by fall in bingo traffic, casino bets

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Rank revenue hit by fall in bingo traffic, casino bets

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(Reuters) - Rank Group <RNK.L> reported a 4.9 percent year-on-year decline in comparable group revenue for the 16 weeks to mid-October, hit by a drop in sales and traffic at its casinos and bingo halls.

Grosvenor casinos like-for-like sales fell 7.2 percent, hurt by a fall in betting by high spending customers, while sales at Mecca bingo fell 5 percent as fewer customers visited halls.

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In August, the company said trading for the first six weeks of its fiscal year had been challenging, hit by an unusually hot British summer that made its indoor venues less attractive.

Rank's online business did continue to improve, with group digital revenue rising 1.7 percent, and 13.5 percent when including its Spanish YoBingo digital venture.

Grosvenor Casinos' digital sales, however, fell 5.2 percent due to the tightening up in due diligence on customers implemented in September 2017.

Britain's Gambling Commission set out anti-money laundering rules last year which included identifying and verifying all customers on entry and when customers spend or win 2,000 euros.

The company said its transformation programme, announced in August to boost revenue and cut costs, has identified some early cost savings which will offset some of Grosvenor Casinos venues' revenue decline in the 16-week period.

(Reporting by Justin George Varghese in Bengaluru; Editing by Amrutha Gayathri and Patrick Graham)

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