Rank Interactive casinos
Rank Interactive Casinos brands include Kitty Bingo, Magical Vegas, Lucky VIP and Mecca Games. Rank Interactive Casinos is also known as Rank Interactive (Gibraltar) Limited, licence number 57924 which operates 16 active sites, 0 white labels and 1 inactive brands. This is 17 online casinos in total.
Official Rank Interactive Casinos
Rank Interactive (Gibraltar) Limited Information
Who are Rank Interactive (Gibraltar) Limited?
We could simply say that Rank Interactive (Gibraltar) Limited is the company behind Mecca Bingo, and that would be enough for you to get a sense of the operator’s size. We don’t just mean that Rank Interactive runs the digital version of the Mecca Bingo business – they also own the offline brand, too, including all of the company’s business halls. Owning a brand the size of Mecca Bingo would be enough for most operators, but through the Rank Group, Rank Interactive also owns Grosvenor. That’s one of the biggest casino brands in the UK, regardless of whether you’re talking about the digital realm or the physical one.
In addition to those two big hitters, there are plenty more iGaming brands under the Rank Interactive umbrella, plus connections to the world of cinema and a tale of two previous casino network companies that are no longer with us. It’s a long and complicated story.
An overview of Rank Interactive (Gibraltar) Limited
Rank Interactive (Gibraltar) Limited is an offshoot of the Rank Group, which is a far larger organisation. These days, The Rank Group is a casino and gambling company with around eight thousand employees, fifteen active iGaming sites, and annual revenue of about £330m per year. The UK is the company’s primary market, but you’ll also find its brands active in Belgium and Spain. Home for the Rank Group is in Maidenhead, England, but the headquarters of Rank Interactive is in Gibraltar. That’s a common arrangement for iGaming companies. To properly understand how this company became so big, we must first look at the past.
Rank Group History
The Rank Group, in its current form, has existed since 1995. However, the group was formed from the ashes of The Rank Organisation, which was a film company founded in the UK by J. Arthur Rank in 1937. During its glory years in the 1940s, the Rank Organisation was the biggest film company in the UK, owning a production studio but also managing its own distribution and projection equipment. Later years saw the company diversify into manufacturing televisions, radios, and even photocopiers. J. Arthur Rank was interested in every form of media, and the activities of his company reflected that.
As great as the glory years were for the Rank Organisation, they didn’t last for long. The company was in £16m of debt by 1950, which was even more money then than it is now. Film production budgets were reduced dramatically, and some of the company’s studios were closed. Rank himself stepped down from the day-to-day running of the company in 1952 but remained in position as chairman for a further ten years beyond that. What saved the business was music – Rank Records was launched in the late 1950s, eventually becoming Top Rank Records before selling up to EMI in the 1960s.
With the company on secure financial footing again by the 1970s, it returned its attention to making movies. Eight new films were made between 1977 and 1979 for a total of £10m, but they made an overall loss of £1.6m. Undeterred, The Rank Organisation announced a new slate of films at the 1980 Cannes Film Festival. None of those films would ever be made. Instead, the company focused on its operations in other forms of media before breaking up the business in the 1990s and selling it off a piece at a time. The biggest sale came in 1995 when The Rank Group acquired the remaining shares of the older business.
Becoming The Rank Group
The first thing The Rank Group did was set about the task of severing the connection between the Rank name and the movie business. The distribution arm of the company was sold to Carlton Communications in 1997, along with the company’s entire film library. All of its cinemas and studios were sold in 2000. The final connection between Rank and its former industry was severed when its DVD distribution business was sold to the highest bidder in 2005. By that time, The Rank Group was firmly focused on the casino world.
The sale of all those former properties left the Rank Group with the Mecca Bingo and Grosvenor Casino premises, which it took online after acquiring an iGaming company called Blue Square in 2003. Originally, the online side of the business was called Rank Digital Gaming (Alderney) Limited and operated the digital versions of Grosvenor Casinos and Mecca Bingo, plus Mecca Games, The Vic, and Bella Casino.
In mid-2022, The Rank Group became interested in another online casino operator called Daub Alderney Limited, which operates brands like Rialto Casino, Spin and Win, Lucky Pants Bingo and more. A purchase was agreed upon, after which the Daub Alderney sites moved to The Rank Group. That was the end of Rank Digital Gaming (Alderney) Limited and Daub Alderney, both of which were closed in favour of restructuring under the new name of Rank Interactive (Gibraltar) Limited.
Rank Interactive and the UK Gambling Commission
All of the casinos and bingo sites on the Rank Interactive (Gibraltar) Limited platform are covered by UK Gambling Commission licence 57924, which was awarded in March 2022. The licence is currently free of fines, warnings, additional conditions and suspensions. However, that doesn’t quite tell the full story when it comes to the regulatory history of The Rank Group.
As we covered above, the iGaming arm of The Rank Group used to be called Rank Digital Gaming (Alderney) Limited, which had a different UK Gambling Commission licence (no. 38750). In January 2022, the UKGC identified failings in the operator’s processes and policies for protecting potentially vulnerable players, including breaches of social responsibility rules. Rank Digital paid £700,557 in lieu of a formal financial penalty for these breaches.
We also mentioned that Daub Alderney’s casinos were merged with Rank Digital’s as part of the creation of Rank Interactive. In July 2021, Daub Alderney Limited was fined £5.85m and handed a formal warning after breaking licence conditions related to anti-money laundering, social responsibility and advertising. While the fact that these regulatory actions occurred shortly before the merger of the companies and the obtaining of a new UKGC licence might be coincidental, the fact that the company now holds a different licence means that these regulatory failures have effectively been wiped clean from its record.
The Top Rank Interactive Sites
Both online and offline, Mecca Bingo is one of the biggest bingo brands in the UK. We say “one of the biggest” because we’re sure Gala Bingo, Tombola Bingo and a couple of others might have something to say about the idea of Mecca being the outright biggest. In any event, Mecca Bingo is the jewel in the Rank Interactive crown. You might even look at it as the platform’s overall flagship site, although there’s a case for handing that title to the Grosvenor Casinos website instead.
The original version of Mecca Bingo was a pure bingo site aimed at doing nothing beyond replicating the experience of visiting a real Mecca Bingo hall as accurately as possible. Over time, Mecca Bingo has evolved. The modern version of Mecca Bingo includes slots and casino games to go with all the bingo rooms. That makes Mecca Bingo fantastic as an all-around iGaming site but begs the question of what the point of Mecca Games is supposed to be if Mecca Bingo is now covering all the bases it was designed to cover.
It’s very likely that you’ve already heard of Grosvenor Casinos. It’s fairly likely that there’s a physical Grosvenor Casinos premises near you. Real-world recognition goes a long way in the iGaming world, so online casinos that have links to brick-and-mortar casinos tend to be automatically popular among players. All of that goes in favour of Grosvenor Casinos, which is a thoroughly modern-looking casino site thanks to a long-overdue 2022 makeover and relaunch. The real-world Grosvenor Casinos likes to think of itself as a five-star brand. The digital version looks the part.
In keeping with the Grosvenor style, the games given the bulk of the spotlight space on the Grosvenor Casinos homepage are those that offer real dealers and live entertainment. You’d have to scroll quite a long way down that page if you wanted to find the slots, but that’s how you’d expect this site to work, and it suits the overall style. When you do find the slots, though, you might be surprised to find that there are more of them here than there are at any other Rank Interactive casino site. The fact that Grosvenor Casinos also offers sports betting is the cherry on top of the cake.
Those of you who like to read glossy magazines might find that the Bella Casino logo is as familiar to you as the Mecca Bingo logo or the Grosvenor Casino logo. This is the official iGaming presence of Bella Magazine, which is a popular publication aimed at women. The approach that Rank Interactive has taken with Bella Casino is interesting because of the fact that it’s described as a casino. Most female-orientated iGaming sites take the slightly cliched routes of leading with bingo, working under the dated assumption that women are more interested in bingo than they are in regular casino games and slots.
Bella Casino doesn’t even offer any bingo games, which feels like something of a statement. If players want to play bingo, they can do so at plenty of the Bella Casino sister sites. If you’d like to play slots or face down live dealers, that’s what’s on the agenda at Bella Casino. The site does have a glaring weakness, though – there aren’t many promotions here when you compare the bonuses to what’s on offer elsewhere on the Rank Interactive platform.
Lucky Pants Bingo
Back when Lucky Pants Bingo was on the Daub Alderney Limited platform, it was one of the biggest bingo sites on it. Since the merger between Rank and Daub Alderney, Lucky Pants Bingo has been through something of a transformation – and it hasn’t been a good one. We’re not sure whether the idea was to deprioritise Lucky Pants Bingo to make Mecca Bingo stand out, but a lot of the cheeky charm that Lucky Pants Bingo used to specialise in has been lost. This used to be a bingo site brimming with personality. These days, it’s a little bit drab.
Almost all of the bingo games that Lucky Pants Bingo used to offer before the move are still there, but they’re offered with far less pizzazz than they used to be. Most of the former Daub Alderney sites were retrofitted with a standard design template after they switched ownership, and the template makes them all look the same. As much as it pains us to say that Lucky Pants Bingo is now just another run-of-the-mill bingo site, it’s true.
Many of the things we just said about Lucky Pants Bingo are also true of Kitty Bingo. It’s another former Daub Alderney bingo site, and it’s another victim of the template downgrade that Rank Interactive gave to all of the former Daub Alderney sites when they arrived on their new platform. Kitty Bingo and Lucky Pants Bingo are virtually indistinguishable from each other when it comes to content, but Kitty Bingo has a big advantage over Lucky Pants Bingo when it comes to marketability. That advantage is kittens. You can sell almost anything with a cute kitten or two, and Kitty Bingo has far more than two.
The strangest thing about Kitty Bingo is that for a bingo site, it appears to have its priorities in the wrong order. You’d naturally expect it to lead with bingo games, but it leads with slots instead. The bingo games are all still there – it’s just that you have to scroll past the bingo options on the homepage to find them. It’s a viable bingo option in the same way that Lucky Pants Bingo is a viable bingo option, but if you wanted to play bingo on the Rank Interactive platform, it’s hard to see why you’d want to do it anywhere other than Mecca Bingo.