Wake up and smell the coffee! Arcades must look at the big picture
Coin-op Community received this article from a member of the industry with many years of experience, but who would like to remain anonymous!
“After the Government removed the concession of allowing high jackpot AWP s to be played in Arcades, the trade was up in arms that these games could still be freely played on FOBTs in betting shops. Everyone moaned that this was unfair to FECs and we in the coin machine trade were being harshly treated. What was good for the goose was not good for the gander and all and sundry in the trade took up the cudgel looking for a way to have the government reverse its’ stance or at least legislate to allow similar games to be played in arcades.
But this was not to be, and it seems so many years on that nothing in this direction has progressed. No way will the powers that be legislate in favour of Arcades, and no way will they take away the concession of FOBTs to be played in betting shops. So we have come to a stalemate.
Although BACTA - led by the extremely able Leslie Macleod –Miller – have battled vigorously over the years to have the decision reversed it has not come to pass, and we now start 2013 from exactly the same position as we were in years ago.
When the position was first made clear that the use of high jackpot machines were to be curtailed in amusement Arcades this writer exhorted operators to “Wake up and smell the coffee”. Times had changed and a new era was being born, one bereft of these games and one where fun and enjoyment was the new watchword for the arcade industry.
Those operators who chose to ignore the passage of time and think that the louder they cried the more government was going to listen to them were suffering from delusions. Time had moved on, and as Fitzgerald had written is his translation of “the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam ” in 1860’s
“The Moving Finger writes: and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.”
A quotation never more apt when thinking of trying to get the powers that be reverse their decision.
“Wake up and smell the coffee” gives a positive instruction to present day arcade owners; not to wallow in their own grief and misfortune but to stand up and grasp the new opportunities that present themselves. Those that do can take advantage of these new conditions and alter the focus of their Arcades to offer the family customer a fun filled experience where all visitors can participate as a family and spend an hour or two of diversion.
Arcade owners should make their premises a destination, where the family en bloc can enjoy games and participate in winning toys and novelties to show rewards for their spend. A piece of equipment or an attraction in itself could be installed to excite patrons and draw customers and give hours of fun to family groups. It is not enough to put in a new row of gambling machines and hope that this will draw custom and turn a mediocre arcade into a money-making venture. Operators have to look at the bigger picture and think of the years to come.
Things will not always be the same. Now is the opportunity, as we approach the EAG, to grasp the nettle, and make those capital purchases that will influence discerning visitors to come into a friendly and welcoming environment, and the whole family will have hours of fun and entertainment.
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