The long-awaited review into B2 stakes was finally revealed this morning and surprise, surprise – the result is an utter fudge designed to try and please everyone but most likely not going to please many – particularly in the retail pub and AGC sector.
Despite recommending that the government lowers the stake to £2 on slot machine style games on B2 – the Commission recommends that ‘casino-style’ games such as roulette – which are far and away the most popular games played on FOBTs be cut to £30 or below. The Guardian newspaper says, “The recommendation is likely to be seen as a victory for bookmakers, who derive more than half of their annual revenues from FOBTs and say a cut to £2 on these games would force shops to close and cost jobs. Shares in William Hill and Ladbrokes Coral rose around 4% after the news.”
However, the Guardian’s Greg Wood claims the battle for a £2 stake is not lost in a later article where he states, “It is also worth noting that while the review recommends a cut to a £2 maximum stake for “slot”-style games on FOBTs, it does not come down firmly for £30 for roulette, which is by far the most popular game on FOBTs. It suggests that it should be “£30 or lower”, and thereby puts the ball very much in the court of Matthew Hancock MP, the culture secretary, who is the politician charged with making the final decision.
“Hancock is a smart operator who will consider the full range of issues – and political implications before he makes his choice. These include the likelihood – indeed, near-certainty – that the next Labour manifesto will echo the pledge in the last one to impose a £2 limit. If Hancock goes with £30 and is seen to cave in to pressure from the retail gambling, it will be a stick that his opponents will beat him with at every opportunity.”
We await bacta’s official position on today’s announcement.
Small gambling businesses are being invited to Gambling Commission workshops as part of a drive to raise standards across the industry.
Operators who run betting shops, bingo halls and arcades are being invited to the events to find out how they can ensure their businesses are fair, safe and crime-free.
Helen Venn, Gambling Commission Programme Director, said: “The aim of the workshops is to engage with smaller operators who may not routinely contact us and to support them in providing gambling facilities that consumers can have trust in.
“The workshop sessions will cover common compliance findings and e-services, assurance statement overview, anti-money laundering risk assessments, multi-operator self-exclusion schemes and local risk assessments.
“There will also be opportunities to ask our compliance team questions during the day.”
The workshops will take place at the Gambling Commission offices in Birmingham on 12 March and at the City Chambers in Edinburgh on3 May. For those not operating near Birmingham and Edinburgh, a webinar is planned for later in the year.
Small operators interested in attending any of these events (including the webinar) are invited to email firstname.lastname@example.org
Sega Amusements has plans to create a new arcade in a shopping centre in Westquay, Southampton, according to local press reports.
The unit, which is below a Showcase Cinema is 337sqm unit, currently designated as a cafe or restaurant and council planning chiefs will decide on whether to grant a temporary change of use for five years, with a further five year extension if the arcade is a success.
If plans are accepted, the amusement arcade could create up to six new jobs – four of which would be part time roles.
The Beast from the East has caused delays on the new £4m development at Clacton Pier, forcing bosses to draft in extra workers.
The landmark is set to become a major attraction in East Anglia – boasting a new £500,000 indoor and outdoor adventure golf course over two levels, as well as a £500,000 children’s play area.
Only pier contractor TSI, which is carrying out the main steel construction, continued throughout the big freeze, but all other activity on the build came to a halt. When the worst of the snow hit, bosses also took the decision to close off the top end of the pier and all rides were shut over the weekend.
Pier director Billy Ball said “The team worked on in bitterly cold temperatures and freezing winds on the Monday, but once the Beast from the East hit us the next day it was very difficult to carry on. The design team was able to finalise technical details for the shell of the building but we definitely lost some time on what is a pretty tight schedule.
“However, we are confident that with some improved weather and extra workers coming on board this week that we will still be able to open the new adventure golf course, children’s play area, new first floor dodgems and coffee shop in July.”
The mainstay of hundreds of seaside amusement arcades is the 2p machine, operated with one of the smallest denomination coins and used in innumerable payout machines, rolldowns, pushers and other novelties.
The coin is under threat. The Spring Statement, a document laying out some financial ideas and policies from the Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond, mentioned the possibility of getting rid of 1p and 2p coins. This, said the Chancellor was “digitisation of payment.” It was no more than a subject for discussion, but nevertheless it rang some warning bells at bacta, the UK’s trade association.
“The 2p machine is a product loved by generations of families,” said association CEO John White. He was interviewed on BBC Today, the peak-hour morning radio show, and he emphasised the damage that the removal of the coin would do to seaside arcades and family holidays.
“It is by far and away the most popular coin for seaside pushers… there are seven pushers on 2p coins to every one that’s on 10p coins. Getting rid of them kills the product and, as one of the principal drivers of income in arcades, therefore, could destroy hundreds of arcades around the coast. Seaside economies would therefore be badly affected.”
by David Snook
Yesterday, the Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond, delivered his first spring statement.
The statement was a fairly low-key affair as intimated by the Treasury over the weekend, with no major policy announcements or tax and spending measures.
That said, the Chancellor did highlight potential future policy changes and signalled areas where he would like to consult ahead of the next Budget.
There were a number of announcements of direct relevance to bacta including, a consultation on cash and digital payments and a review into VAT paid by small businesses – to explore measures to ameliorate the current situation where companies have to register for VAT when their annual turnover reaches £85,000.
The world’s only manufacturer of vinyl jukeboxes has collaborated with Leeds City Council and Victoria Gate Shopping Centre to run a six-week pop up store in the heart of Leeds.
Leeds-based Sound Leisure opened the celebratory pop-up store on Wednesday 7 March which will run for six weeks, closing on 18 April. The store features an array of Sound Leisure’s world-renowned vinyl, CD and digital jukeboxes, games room related products such as arcade game machines, as well as a series of new, innovative products that the company has developed.
Sound Leisure was formed in Yorkshire in 1978 and this year celebrates its 40th anniversary as a proud Leeds-based manufacturer, shipping its bespoke products globally to some of the world’s most prestigious locations. The family-run firm is the only manufacturer of vinyl playing jukeboxes and one of only two classic jukebox producers in the world.
The pop-up store will also host a variety of events to celebrate the business’ 40th anniversary as well as the Yorkshire manufacturing industry.
Managing director of Sound Leisure, Chris Black, comments: “We’re delighted to have partnered with Victoria Gate and Leeds City Council to run the pop-up store throughout March and April. As a proud Yorkshire manufacturer which is entering its 40th year in business we’re really looking forward to celebrating and showcasing the truly unique products we create right here in Leeds.”
The SUZOHAPP team is welcoming visitors at the Irish Gaming Show on booth #27 to showcase its industry-leading range of amusement machine components and cash handling systems, which meets all expectations of both manufacturers and operators.
For cash handling solutions, the brand new SCAN COIN ICX Active-9 is taking center stage on the SUZOHAPP stand. This innovative coin sorter can sort up to 9 different coin types / tokens at a rate of up to 2,700 per minute. SUZOHAPP will also show a selection of SCAN COIN back-office solutions for coin and bank note sorting/counting, such as the SC-303 and the SC-8220. As the expert in money changing technology, SUZOHAPP will present the Comestero Dual Coin PRO and Easy PRO, the best-selling change machines in the industry.
During the Irish show, visitors will have the opportunity to hear about how they can offer coin acceptance on their amusement machines thanks to the Comestero RM5 Evolution and RM5 HD electronic coin validators. SUZOHAPP is also the expert for coin pay-out devices and visitors will appreciate the advantages of a variety of hoppers.
A rich assortment of pure Amusement solutions are also on display, such as the BilliardPRO and CompetitionPRO product lines. Finally, visitors will have the opportunity to see the Carrillo and Bonetti chairs.
John Vallis, Vice President Gaming & Amusement EMEA, commented, “We are excited to exhibit again at the Irish Gaming show. This event is always the perfect opportunity to keep up to date, see what’s new and find out what is happening in the Irish Amusement industry. Please join our experts at booth 27 to see a live demonstration of our latest innovations!”
Gaming group Rank has lost its CEO to an online retailer. Henry Birch today gave notice of his resignation after four years with the company, to join Shop Direct in a similar capacity.
Shop Direct runs digital department stores such as Littlewoods.com and it found Birch’s experience and success with online business for Rank an irresistible attraction.
Under Birch, Rank Group saw progressively improved online business. In the six months to December 2017 its revenues rose by 16 per cent.
For Birch, the move is a significant one as he will shift from a business sector with which he was very familiar, having been four years with Rank after a similar period as CEO of William Hill Online where he launched the company’s mobile business.
Birch now has to complete 12 months’ notice at Rank and the company has stated that a successor will be announced once he/she has been identified.
SEGA unveiled its latest action adventure game TRANSFORMERS Shadows Rising at Amusements Expo International. There was huge buzz and excitement as keen visitors queued to experience the epic new game TRANSFORMERS Shadows Rising and SEGA’s other latest, high earning games.
TRANSFORMERS Shadows Rising is the long-awaited follow up to the smash hit licenced video game TRANSFORMERS Human Alliance and features iconic locations from all over the world. SEGA’s CEO Paul Williams says, “We are very proud to be working with Hasbro on TRANSFORMERS Shadows Rising. The blockbuster TRANSFORMERS films have been a hit with fans around the globe, making this iconic brand a worldwide phenomenon. With the new BUMBLEBEE movie debuting this holiday season, we think Amusements Expo International was the ideal time to launch TRANSFORMERS Shadow Rising so operators can have the game in time for the film release.”