Anticipating a change in B2 stakes by Nick Harding

04/04/2018

So, finally we are into a period of anticipation, expectation, and general nervous tension. The Consultation Document on Gaming Machine stakes and prizes has run its course, responses from many stakeholders on both sides of the argument were no doubt eloquently and forcefully delivered and the Gambling Commission subsequently issued their considered advice to the DCMS, or more specifically to the Gambling Minister Tracey Crouch and the Secretary of State Matt Hancock. Many stakeholders were surprised/disappointed/frustrated/delighted (delete as appropriate depending on which industry sector you are aligned with) that the Commission has seemed to duck the issue and has advised the government that something under £30 would be acceptable (or words to that effect).

So now we wait. There are rumours that something will happen on April 9th (but which April 9th?), although personally I would be surprised if the DCMS released their recommendation for an SI before government returns from its recess which will be April 16th at the earliest. But we will get an announcement and I will be very surprised if the recommendation isn’t substantially below £30, but we will have to wait and see. We will then go into an extended period before the SI can be voted on and then the date for whatever changes are agreed will have to be agreed with the relevant software games and systems suppliers. Those guys will of course want to drag out the date of implementation of whatever changes are required and again my sense would be a full implementation date sometime in early 2019.

I am breathless with anticipation!

Meantime life goes on and the rotten weather has been playing havoc with both ambitious 2018 budgets and 2017/2018 LFLs for AGCs, FECS and Bingo Clubs across the country. The problem with the gambling industry is that once the customer has decided to stay in by the fire for the day, and you have lost their revenues they don’t tend to spend twice as much with you next time they visit. I mention this only because every Finance Director I have ever worked with has regarded this fact as a complete travesty and is shocked to the core when the lack of revenues plays havoc with a P&L account (particularly when they aren’t used to a business where most of the costs are fixed and a pound of turnover largely equals a pound of trading profit). They clearly never model this situation in accountancy college…

Lets hope it stops raining and warms up soon.

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