Bid by Rank to Acquire Gala Coral’s UK Casinos sent to Competition Commission

Bid by Rank to Acquire Gala Coral’s UK Casinos sent to Competition CommissionThe British Office of Fair Trading has referred the bid by the Rank Casino group to acquire 26 casinos from Gala Coral to the Competition Commission. The Rank Group in which the Malaysian billionaire Quek Leng Chan has a majority shareholding has 34 casinos in the United Kingdom operating as Grosvenor and GCasino casinos. If the 205 million pound sterling sale of Gala Coral’s casinos were to be approved, Rank would become the largest casino operator in the country.
Rank’s main casino rival in the United Kingdom is the Genting group which operates 46 casinos. With the purchase of the Gala Coral casinos Rank would surpass this with 58 casinos making it the country’s biggest casino operator and it is this fact that is behind the Office of Fair Trading’s referral of the deal to the Competition Commission. The Office of Fair Trading has said that there is the concern that the purchase by Rank would reduce competition in the casino sector both at national and local levels. This reduction in competition would be bad news for consumers and would also make it more difficult for other operators to expand or to enter the casino market in the future.The Rank group is in the second position in the casino market in the United Kingdom, it is only surpassed by the Genting group. Genting is also operated by a Malaysian business man, Lim Kok Thay. The Rank group would have 40% of the United Kingdom casino market if the purchase of Gala coral’s casinos went ahead and this along with Genting’s casinos would give the two groups control over 75% of casinos in the United Kingdom. The third major casino operator is London Clubs International.Until last year both Genting and Quek Leng Chan’s Guoco group were rivals for shares in Rank but suddenly Genting sold its shares to Guoco giving the company a shareholding that enabled it to eventually takeover the Rank group. Prior to this Quek Leng Chan had attempted to acquire United Kingdom casino licences without great success so he turned to gaining shares in Rank.


The Rank group recently released news of a rise in profits over the last year even in the face of a general slowdown in the economy. The company must now wait until 2013 to find out if the Competition Commission will approve its purchase of Gala Coral’s casinos.

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