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.”
Quixant, leading suppliers of cutting-edge hardware to the global gaming market, is pleased to announce another high-profile addition to its gaming monitor division. Chris Caress, who brings with him decades of experience at the top level of the industry, has been appointed as Assistant Vice President of Gaming Monitors in Quixant’s Taiwan team.
Chris teams up with Quixant following an esteemed career spanning over 28 years within Barcrest, IGT and SG Gaming that covered every aspect of gaming-based products – from conceptualisation and development of software, drivers, firmware, hardware, PC platforms, cabinet deployment, and key peripheral integration, to more recently, coordinating design and specification of gaming monitors and touch screen technologies.
Chris has partnered extensively with the industry’s leading names and key suppliers worldwide, providing solutions to a wide variety of markets. He brings his wealth of knowledge to his new position of AVP, with a main focus on accelerating innovation in Quixant’s already fast-growing monitor portfolio.
Jon Jayal, Chief Operating Officer of Quixant, comments, “We are currently in a period of intense evolution and expansion of our gaming monitor and digital button deck range. To optimise this process, it is imperative that we have the strongest development team available. Chris, with his unrivalled gaming industry expertise, is a perfect fit for our short- and long-term plans, and we look forward to him playing a major part in Quixant realising its future ambitions.”
The EUROMAT 2018 Summit will take place on 4th-6th June at the Monte Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort. Enjoying a truly spectacular setting, the summit’s home is conveniently situated just 30 minutes drive, 15 minutes by rail or 7 minutes by helicopter from Nice Airport.
For the amusements and gaming industry professionals making the trip to Monte Carlo, the impressive setting will witness a fresh new approach to the summit programme, reflecting an increasingly inclusive and forward-looking approach.
EUROMAT President Jason Frost explains: “The 2018 summit programme is the product of a great deal of consultation with Association members and other industry stakeholders. The event has always provided the perfect platform for operators and legislators to discuss topical issues and future policies.
“For the first time the summit will devote a full day to player protection and social responsibility, with new payment technologies featuring prominently on the agenda. Amusements will also feature, with a session exploring the case for liberalising the rules surrounding Redemption products in France.
“The enlarged programme is also designed to reach out to manufacturers and operators. These are the people immersed in our industry on a day-to-day basis; they’re investing in the industry and sitting within local communities. We need their perspective and hope they will attend the Summit, and benefit from networking with regulators, industry leaders, national industry associations and also their peers from around Europe,” confirms Jason.
A senior bacta delegation comprising National President, Gabi Stergides and Chief Executive, John White supported by Oliver Hogan, Head Economist at the influential Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), met with former leader of the Conservative Party, Iain Duncan Smith, last week to present the findings of CEBR analysis on the economic impact on bookmakers of a reduction in FOBT stakes to £2.
The meeting, which was held at Iain Duncan Smith’s offices in the Palace of Westminster, explained bacta’s key arguments that the impact of reducing the FOBT stake to £2 could be up to 47 percent lower than suggested by the Government’s initial impact assessment and could also be offset by the reduction in the fiscal costs of addressing the significant social problems caused by FOBTs.
Expanding on the meeting, Gabi Stergides said: “Our message, which was well received by Mr Iain Duncan Smith, was the cost of a clampdown on fixed-odds betting terminals is being exaggerated and the research undertaken by the CEBR demonstrates this in no uncertain terms.”
He added: “The current FOBT stake of £100 is fifty times higher than that of other gaming machines found on the high street and in 2015/6, there were over 230,000 sessions in which an individual lost more than £1,000. Factor in the impact on areas funded by the tax payer such as welfare services, absences from work, housing and the criminal justice system and the social cost of the FOBT stake, is an estimated £210m/year – more than £1bn since 2013.”
A major investigation is underway in Dublin after an arcade was raided in a highly organised heist which saw an estimated €70,000 in cash stolen and a further €270,000 caused in damage to property.
Courtdown Amusement Centre was targeted in the robbery which appears to have been very carefully planned leading local papers to liken the theft to the film franchise starring George Clooney. Thieves cut wires at a phone site in the area in order to disconnect the alarm system at the arcade ahead of the raid. However, once inside, the thieves smashed the arcade up indiscriminately and made off with mostly coins. Dozens of machines and other equipment were smashed to smithereens.
Cashino Gaming, the 171 venue UK chain of Adult Gaming Centres (AGCs) launched 10-years ago by respected industry figure, Nick Harding, has been highlighted by Daily Telegraph business correspondent, Sophie Christie, for its stance on equal pay for its male and female employees. Cashino, which was cited for its progressive outlook, appeared in The Telegraph alongside The British Museum, Europcar, Evans Cycles, Biffa, UK Mail, Unilever and Ocado.
The report, which is based on data from British companies with more than 250 employees, stated that while companies such as easyJet and retailer Phase Eight are paying women 52pc and 65pc less than men per hour, female employees at Cashino Gaming receive 0.7pc more than their male counterparts. This, argued the paper, was in contrast to gambling firms Ladbrokes and Coral who, according to the data, pay their male staff 15pc and 14pc more than female staff members, respectively.
Nick Harding, Senior Advisor to Gauselmann UK said: “I am delighted to have what I believe to be the very best team in the UK AGC sector and one which regularly goes beyond the call of duty in order to deliver the best possible customer experience. I’m proud that Cashino Gaming has been recognised for its approach to pay which is based on recognising excellence in the work place.”