Changes are afoot in the online bingo market after the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) gave the green light to major gaming operator Rank Group to take over Stride Gaming.
Rank, which owns major bingo company Mecca Bingo as well as Grosvenor Casino, will now be able to go through with its £115.3 million purchase, and it is expected that Stride Gaming will cease trading under its current name on the stock exchange by Monday October 7.
Stride currently operates a number of popular bingo and casino platforms, including Bingo Extra as well as Kitty Bingo, Lucky Pants and Spin and Win, and Rank has been keen to expand its holdings in these areas, which will enable it to extend its reach to a new customer base.
It was reported back in July that shareholders at Stride had voted overwhelmingly in favour of the deal, under which Rank will also move its online gaming platform onto Stride’s software. Analysts expect that this will boost Rank Group’s performance, while cutting its costs at a time when it has been experiencing mediocre sales and a year-on-year fall in operating profits.
Figures reported for the year to the end of June 2019 showed that Rank profits had dropped from £50.1 million to £39 million, although online gaming had helped to boost turnover, which had risen from £691 million to £695 million, and this helps to explain Rank’s decision to increase its share of the online gaming market, particularly in the fast-growing bingo sector.
What the takeover will mean for bingo players isn’t immediately clear, but it is unlikely that there will be any significant changes in the short term beyond tweaks to branding and presentation, so Bingo Extra and Kitty Bingo players should be unaffected.
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