Rank Group agrees to furlough 90% of its staff

Casino and gaming operator Rank Group Plc confirmed today that it had furloughed nearly 90% of its workforce in the UK as its venues remain closed due to coronavirus-led lockdowns.

The company said about 7,000 of its 7,600 workers had been furloughed and would receive 80% of their salary under the government’s job retention scheme, while its directors also volunteered a 20% cut to pay.

Originally, those working in betting shops and casino operators were not eligible for the government’s job retention scheme, since they were classified as ‘financial services’ and not retail.

However, it was noted that over 64,000 jobs rely on high street betting in the UK and at the same time, casino operators have seen dramatic falls in profits in recent weeks.

Rank, whose like-for-like net gaming revenue fell 4% for the third quarter, forecast annual underlying operating profit between 48 million pounds and 58 million pounds, assuming its venues remain closed for the rest of the financial year.

In addition to events, travel and high street retailers, the UK’s gambling industry is one of the worse to be hit financially as a result of coronavirus.

Almost all live sporting events have been cancelled, which results in no income from betting on football matches, rugby, tennis and more. Some companies were able to cash in early by the Cheltenham Racing Festival that still went ahead in March, despite concerns.

It has been reported that Flutter Entertainment which owns Betfair and Paddy Power has seen a fall in profits in the last quarter by £80 million, which is expected to rise to £110 million or higher.

The casino market has made huge losses as part of new regulation which has seen the introduction of a £2 cap on all slot machine betting, both in store and online.

The casino industry is still under attack from MPs after it emerged that William Hill was encouraging customers to play in live sports where they had little knowledge, including table tennis games in Russia and baseball in Japan. A letter has been sent to the BCG asked for a daily limit of £50 for every customer in the UK.