Bacta has embarked on one of the most intensive programmes of political engagement in its recent history initiating three high profile events in the course of a week. On Tuesday 19th September, a bacta delegation comprising President, Gabi Stergides, former President Jason Frost and Chief Executive John White, attended a meeting at Downing Street with Alex Martin, Advisor on Economic Affairs at the Number 10 Policy Unit.
The meeting provided a valuable opportunity for the bacta delegation to explain the association’s broader thinking around its triennial submission concerning stake and prize levels for B3, Category C and Category D, as well as its recommendations for the creation of a new B5 Category of games. Also high on bacta’s agenda were the social responsibility and economic implications of the various FOBT stake levels allegedly under consideration by the government and reported in the national press.
Tuesday’s meeting in Downing Street will be followed by a high level appearance at the Labour Party Conference in Brighton. On Monday 25 September, Chief Executive John White will appear alongside the Tom Watson, MP, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, at a fringe event organised by the Institute for Public Policy Research, the UK’s leading progressive think tank. John White will be part of a panel debating the economic benefits of social responsibility. The following day, Brighton Palace Pier, the UK’s most popular free admission tourist attraction, will be the venue for a bacta organised ‘Fish & Chips & Beer’ lobbying event which will feature MPs, political advisers and journalists.
Reflecting on the programme, Gabi Stergides said: “Part of the role of a trade association is to represent its members through political engagement at the highest level. Our meeting in Downing Street enabled us to progress our arguments regarding social responsibility, underline our industry’s contribution to the national as well as to numerous regional economies and correct the inaccuracies and spurious mathematics being quoted in the press by some consultants. We are looking forward to taking bacta’s strong arguments to the Labour Party Conference and hosting our guests on a seaside icon which is such a compelling case study for the success of amusement led attractions.”
Technology and software solutions supplier, NRM, has announced a significant business win securing a group wide agreement to install its Numbers Betting Platform across the vast majority of the Ladbrokes Coral estate. The contract, which covers some 3,000+ LBOs, was secured following a competitive tender process and was officially launched at a photo-opportunity held at the Ladbrokes LBO in Bloxwich, West Midlands.
Andrew Ludlow, Managing Director and co-owner of NRM said: “This business win with one of gaming’s most respected blue chip companies not only underlines the intrinsic qualities of the Numbers Betting Platform but also the ‘customer first’ culture that’s part of our DNA at NRM. The process actually began in 2014 when we responded to a request for proposal from Coral and participated in a subsequent competitive tender that was won against some of the industry’s biggest names. We then progressed from a product trial through to a full roll-out in 2015.
One of the most familiar faces in the jukebox industry is retiring. Alastair Tevendale was just 17 years old when he got his first job at High Fidelity and 54 years later he is leaving his job as Technical Sales Manager at Sound Leisure after a wonderful career.
“I joined Hi Fidelity Sound in Leeds age 17,” says Alastair. “After three years High Fidelity was purchased by Music Hire. Two years after the acquisition I left and joined the Ditchburn Organisation where I stayed for three years before leaving and re-joining Music Hire Group in Leeds.
I was with Music Hire/Kunick then for 30 years before joining Alan at Sound Leisure where I have been for 16 great years.
“My time with Sound Leisure has been phenomenal. It has been a privilege to be associated with such a wonderful organisation and I will be forever grateful to Alan Black for offering me a position in the team in the first place all those years ago,” he adds. “Chris and Mike Black, Joanne, my colleagues in Sales department and all the guys in the factory are the people that make this company so special. Thank you.”
“We are very sorry to say goodbye to Al who has been such a valuable member of the Sound Leisure team and a great ambassador for the brand – he has travelled all over to see customers who over the years have appreciated his knowledge and commitment and many have become good friends,” says Chris Black, Sound Leisure Managing Director. “We will all miss Alastair’s dry wit, his modesty, kindness and his vast knowledge of everything to do with jukeboxes. It has genuinely been a pleasure working alongside him and we all wish him the very best and hope he will remain a regular visitor to the factory.”
“During the years that I have been on the road in this industry I have met some fantastic people,” concludes Alastair. “All I can say is that I have valued your friendship greatly and in due course it is my intention to get in my car and start a “Grand Tour” of this wonderful country this time not sell you anything – thank you all.”
A well-known name in the US, European and Japanese amusement games industry from the 1980s and 1990s, Grant Freerks of Taito Corporation, has died. Apparently Grant passed away on June 28, but due to the long period of absence from the industry, news is only just filtering through.
He was a major link between the three main global video games markets during the heyday of the Taito Space Invaders game and subsequent games. A fluent Japanese speaker, Grant was based in all three continents at different times, but mostly in London, looking after the European market.
He was, however a familiar figure at Japanese trade shows through those two decades, only leaving Taito when the company went public.
Leading Kent-based operator Automatic Machine Services Ltd (AMS) held an open day in its new offices in Kensing, Kent yesterday. The spacious new headquarters for AMS on the Chaucer Business Park is the main point for service and repair of equipment and houses 30 staff. The event was well attended and enjoyed good weather and the support of suppliers, including Sound Leisure/Soundnet’s Chris Black and James Luck and Jonathan Lauder from RLMS Sales.
“We have been looking for the right premises to move into for a number of years as we had outgrown our previous location,” said Director Jason Jarrett. “We moved in here in March and all the staff are thrilled with the space.” The premises also include an attractive showroom with innovative media wall, where branded photography can be carried out against a well-lit, logo backdrop ready for social media or press releases.
Guests were treated to a wonderful BBQ lunch and refreshments and one of the AMS staff Nicky Lines provided entertainment in the form of shaving all her hair off – in aid of McMillan Cancer and in support of her father. Donations can be made here https://t.co/tOghPERGUzhttps://t.co/eho2x7dUXx
Reports in the National press suggest that Gala Bingo’s parent company Caledonia Investments, is looking for buyers for some of its sites.
In addition, the group is offering space in some locations to third party company to rent.
Gala Bingo’s operating profits fell by 5pc to £746,000 in 2015, which is the latest set of available results, but pre-tax profits dropped heavily from £40.9m in 2014 to £1.9m, almost entirely due to payments from other group companies not being repeated. It appears that Gala has been hit by a shift in bingo players moving online.
Both galabingo.com and galacasino.com are owned by bookmaker Ladbrokes Coral meaning a rebrand would likely be needed if Gala Bingo is to make a push online. Gala is understood to have approached supermarkets Co-op and Nisa about whether they are interested in any of the Gala Bingo sites, as well as gym businesses Gym Box and The Gym, and frozen foods supermarket Farm Foods.
A spokesman for Gala declined to comment on the rebrand but said that the company always reviewed its estate.
UZOHAPP is well prepared for the new £10 banknote that will enter circulation in England and Wales on Thursday 14th September. All banknote readers and recyclers, SCAN COIN and CashComplete solutions are ready to accept the new £10.
The new British £10 represents the very latest in banknote technology. As it is made of polymer, it is cleaner, safer and stronger than paper notes. It joins the Churchill £5 in the first family of polymer Bank of England banknotes. A new £20 note featuring J.M.W Turner will follow in 2020. The new £10 banknote is 15% smaller than the current £10 and has a number of special security features, such as a see-through window, foils that change color when the note is tilted and a built-in ultra-violet feature. The new £10 note features the Queen on the front and Jane Austin, one of Britain’s most-loved authors, on the reverse. 2017 marks the 200th anniversary of Austin’s death.
SUZOHAPP commits to providing its customers with the necessary software and hardware updates to upgrade their machines and devices. The Bill-to-Bill™ note recyclers and MFL™ bill validators are ready to accept the new banknote through a simple software update. The Comestero solutions are also prepared to accept the new £10. “The updating procedures are quick and simple,” stated John Vallis, Sales Director for SUZOHAPP in the UK and Vice President of Amusement Sales EMEA. “Many customers replaced or upgraded their note acceptors for the new £5 banknote last year, so their equipment will be easily upgradable to the new £10 by using a programming kit. Any customers needing to upgrade their equipment to accept the new £5 or £10 banknotes should contact the UK sales team for advice and support.”
Blueprint Machines are celebrating the phenomenal success of its ground-breaking Aurora cabinet with an offer like no other!
Within the next three or four weeks, the company estimates that the 2000th Aurora cabinet will be purchased in the UK, and when that happens, the buyer will be in for a very pleasant surprise.
“We thought we would award a free machine as a thank you and make the announcement at the ACOS Show, at Chelsea football ground in October,” says Simon Barff, Managing Director at Blueprint Machines. “The cabinet was officially launched at ICE 2015, with the first machines hitting the market in the late spring of that year. The majority have been supplied as B3 but due to the presence the cabinet affords within venue, a large number of customers have also pushed the boat out and taken it for our Cat C Community Cash Vault,” he adds.
The Aurora cabinet is the result of classic German engineering with a scientifically ergonomic design. It features an enhanced sound system and the highest quality twin 27inch monitors. It is fully TiTo or cash compatible. Customers can buy the Aurora with the market-leading B3 Carbon gamepack or with the Titan Hot or Community Cash Vault gamepacks for Category C.
For more details about the Aurora and the free machine offer, contact UK Gaming solutions details for contact UK Gaming Solutions Ltd on Tel: 01765 607700.
All sectors of the gambling industry (arcades, bingo clubs, bookmakers, casinos and online) through the Industry Group for Responsible Gabling (IGRG) have, for the first time, agreed to hold a pan-industry Responsible Gambling Week to raise awareness of responsible gambling.
The trade associations driving the week, with the support of their membership, are: bacta, The Remote Gambling Association (RGA), National Casino Forum (NCF), The Bingo Association, The Association of British Bookmakers.
Follow consultation with stakeholders it was agreed that the inaugural national Responsible Gambling Week would run from Thursday 12th October to Wednesday 18th October 2017.
The vision for Responsible Gambling Week is to create a conversation about responsible gambling – with customers, staff, the wider public and key stakeholders. The key objectives of the campaign are to raise awareness of:
- how to gamble responsibly
- the tools that are available to help customers gamble responsibly
- where to find more help and support for those who need it
John White, Chief Executive of bacta said, ‘Responsible Gambling Week is about an industry working together to highlight its year-round commitment to Social Responsibility and the tools we have available to help those with a problem or at risk of developing one. The Week will encourage and enable those who are worried about their gambling, or their friends and family, to talk to us about how we can help. Bacta are delighted to support this IRGR initiative’.
UK chancellor Phillip Hammond (pictured) may still include fixed-odds betting terminals in the upcoming announcements on stakes and prizes in gambling machines.
The Times writes that the earlier claims that the Treasury had stepped back from any ideas on cutting stakes were now being reviewed.
FOBTs could have their stakes reduced to £2, the same as AWPs in pubs, if the authorities give way to pressure groups. In August a review of stakes and prizes was put back to October amid rumours that the Treasury was against change because it collects tax on revenues from machines.
However, it has emerged that Hammond has written to a church bishop that had urged a quick review, and that the chancellor still backed moves to clamp down on the machines.