Rank may have the opportunity to acquire the bulk of the Gala Rank Casino if the final findings of the Competition Commission allows the Casino Sale to happen. The final report for the Casino Sale will be released by the 20th of February 2013.
Rank made its initial bid for the Casino sale of 26 Casino Licences (23 operational 3 non op) from Gala Coral in May 2012 but the sale was referred to the Competition Commission by the Office of Fair Trading as it felt that reducing 3 large Casino Operators (Genting, Grosvenor and Gala Coral) down to just the 2 major operators would limit consumer choice especially in some major areas
The main concern over the competition is in 5 Cities. Aberdeen, Liverpool/New Brighton, Stockton on Tees, Bristol and Cardiff. Grosvenor already have operational Casinos in these areas. There is also concerns over Edinburgh which has a cold licence (Non Operational). The Commission feel that these areas could be affected by the lack of special promotions and sub standard customer services.
“As well as the provisional findings, the CC has published a notice of possible remedies, which sets out ways in which the CC might address the loss of competition in the areas concerned. The options identified include requiring Rank to find buyers for casinos in the five areas identified—as well as for the Edinburgh cold licence—before being allowed to complete the deal. The notice also includes the possibility of the casinos in affected areas being excluded from the transaction or the whole deal being blocked.”
Professor Martin Cave, Chairman of the Rank/Gala Inquiry Group
‘We have found that casinos vary their offer in response to local competitive conditions and while there is limited scope to compete on price, casinos try to attract customers through customer service, promotions, events and the range of games available.
‘Our concern is that with two of the national players merging, this will leave a number of areas with much reduced competition where casino customers could consequently lose out through a poorer casino offer.
‘We are now going to look at the most effective way to preserve competition in these areas and whether this can be achieved in a way that allows an amended version of the deal to go ahead.’
There are quite a few small independent Casino Operators around the UK who are actively interested in picking up the loose licence’s (I am aware of one operator who would be interested in 3 of the 5 Licences). This Casino Sale may take the large operators from 3 down to 2 but it may just be the ideal scenario for another operator to emerge from the crowd.
Casino Sale, Rank/Gala do you think its a good Deal !