The Gambling Commission has published the 2017 gambling participation and perceptions report, revealing the latest gambling consumer trends in Britain.
The report tracks participation rates, problem gambling estimates, online gambling behaviour, consumer awareness of gambling management tools and attitudes towards gambling.
Ben Haden, programme director at the Gambling Commission said: “Our new three year strategy sets out our role in developing a strong evidence base and improved understanding of the impact gambling has on society. Today’s report makes an important contribution to that work as it presents a comprehensive view on how the British public is choosing the gamble and their attitudes to the current market.
“Our research shows the main factor that influences where someone gambles, is a company with a reputation for being fair and trustworthy. The message from that is clear – gambling companies that treat their customers well and act responsibly will be at an increasingly competitive advantage.”
Ladbrokes has confirmed it wants to change an LBO in Nuneaton into an AGC due to proposed changes in FOBT stakes, it has been confirmed.
The application has been submitted to Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council and it is being recommended the plan is given the go-ahead, especially given the number of other betting shops in the town centre.
“This contrast will add to the vitality and viability of the centre,” says a report to the Town Hall’s planning committee. “It is likely that uses such as this will be open during the day, and potentially in to the evening, which will help to enliven this section of the street which is dominated by many daytime only uses.”
There have been concerns in the industry that a number of LBO sites may become vacant as they become less viable due to lower B2 stakes and that betting shop operators will seek to change use to AGCs.
Mat Ingram, Chief Product Officer at Reflex Gaming, has praised last week’s edition of ICE London for its ability to deliver what he described as ‘a continuous flow of serious gaming professionals throughout the length of ExCeL and the duration of the show.’ Reflex, which is active in both online and land based gaming verticals, used the comprehensive platform provided by ICE to announce its Remote Game Server (RGS) agreement with Malta licensed Leander and to officially launch its GamePro cabinet which will house all of the games creators new B3 compendiums and Category C content.
Heralding the agreement with Leander, Mat Ingram said: “The customer base that Leander delivers gives us access to major players in the online space such as Betsson and Stars Group. The agreement, which complements the RGS we have in place with Gameiom Technologies, is the latest major initiative secured by Reflex over the last 12 months and follows landmark developments including the content supply deals we have secured with tier one operators, Ladbrokes Coral, BetVictor and William Hill. It’s really important from our perspective to achieve the right fit with our commercial partners. We share a similar outlook and values with both Leander and Gameiom and we are looking forward to developing the full potential of those relationships as 2018 progresses.”
He added: “This is our third year at ICE following our entry into the online space. Each year we come to ICE having made significant progress and each year we leave ICE brimming with ideas and contacts made at the show. We have what I consider to be a really coherent and compelling product strategy and I am confident that we have everything in place to make 2018 a highly positive year for the business.”
Due to expansion, Blueprint Operations is pleased to announce the appointment of Gavin Wright to the position of Head of UK Sales.
Gavin joins the company from TCS/John Huxley where he was Senior Business Development Manager, identifying growth markets, new sales opportunities as well as managing key strategic relationships.
“Gavin joined us officially the day before ICE, which was obviously something of a baptism of fire,” says Simon Barff, Managing Director of Blueprint Operations. “He also attended our party during EAG, where he met some of our key customers. With his wealth of experience and track record for success, from TCS/John Huxley, we are confident that he will be instrumental in helping us to forge our path over the coming years, as he has a wealth of gaming experience to share with our customers and trading partners.”
“I am very excited to join Blueprint Operations as Head of UK Sales,” says Gavin. “I have watched the growth of the Blueprint brand in the marketplace and have the utmost respect for the might of the Gauselmann Group internationally. Blueprint has some truly market-leading products and I look forward to promoting them alongside the rest of the excellent team.”
Gavin (left) pictured with Content Manager James Lowe
Leading jukebox manufacturer Sound Leisure from Leeds has recently supplied its first Vinyl Rocket Jukebox to India for the Royal Enfield Garage Cafe in Goa. The Royal Enfield Garage Cafe has a motorcycle museum, a riding gear and apparel store, motorcycle sales and service area and a full service restaurant. The cafe celebrates the history of the brand and the spirit of exploration and adventure.
“This is the first of what we hope will be many of our jukeboxes heading to India,” says Sound Leisure’s Business Development Manager Nigel French. “Royal Enfield started out in Redditch in the UK in 1901 before moving to India during the 1950′s. Their motorcycles, like our jukeboxes are hand-built. The resurgence of the vinyl format for its warmer tone is significant. We at Sound Leisure combine this tone with retro good looks and enhance its enjoy-ability using the latest in technology.”
Highway Games, respected amusement industry online resource & distributor, is proud to announce it will distribute the first officially licensed pinball table from Homepin – Thunderbirds – based on the classic puppet science fiction series from the 1960s.
Homepin was founded by Australian Mike Kalinowski in 2013, with its manufacturing facility based in Shenzhen, China. The factory is managed by Australian electronic engineers with a combined industry experience in excess of 85 years. The company also manufactures a wide range of replacement PCBs.
“Thunderbirds is our first branded pinball table and it has been a labour of love for the team at Homepin, as we have been working on it for four years,” says Mike. “I watched the series as a kid in Australia, so it’s has been especially thrilling to create the first pinball table based on the title. I am very pleased to have Steve and the team at Highway Games for distribution and support.”
Thunderbirds immerses players in all the action of the International Rescue team, featuring authentic character voices and original music. The playfield includes Tracy Island with its retracting swimming pool and palm trees, which combined with the animated panels and authentic artwork on the backbox, create a retro effect combined with modern twists. With the ultimate aim of defeating International Rescue’s nemesis The Hood, the multi-gameplay of this machine makes it suitable for both novice and experienced players alike.
“As Australians, we too grew up watching Thunderbirds and we are very excited to work with Mike from Homepin to set up a profession distribution network for this great title across the world both for the coin-op and the home markets,” says Steve Josifovski, CEO of Highway Games. “Mike and his team have spent years meticulously creating every piece of Thunderbirds, we are very happy to be associated with it.”
In its first day press conference the Novomatic Group, through its CEO Harald Neumann, reported another record year.
“We had revenues of €2.56bn, up from €2.3bn last year – an increase of around 10 per cent. The most important event of the year, however, was the completion of the acquisition of 53 per cent of Ainsworth Game Technology. Both companies will continue as they are in the near future but in the future we will develop a single technical platform.”
He added that the second major issue was Germany and its new regulations. “The new rules for arcades are less restrictive than we expected and so our German business
is more stable than we thought it would be. However, we will have to replace our machines at a cost of about €200m.”
Neumann added that the group had continued to make acquisitions during 2017 but that 2018 will be a year of consolidation. “The group now has over 300 companies, with about 80 of these being acquired over the past two years. We will use this year to consolidate and then return to the expansion trail later.”
Ainsworth CEO Danny Gladstone said that the acquisition had been a “huge effort.” He added: “AGT had 236 licences which Novomatic had to be judged on. It was a long process. There was a lot of wortk to do on the technological side but also on the bringing together of two industry legends – Johann Graf and Len Ainsworth. As far as Ainsworth is concerned, being part of such a large unit complements everything that we do and is good for the industry in general.”
The picture shows, from left to right, Zane Mersich, head of Novomatic UK, Harald Neumann, Danny Gladstone and Thomas Graf, head of Novomatic Interactive.
In a key realignment of its UK senior management, Germany’s Gauselmann Group is moving Nick Harding to a new mainly political role – the first of its kind by a private company in the British market.
Harding, currently CEO at Praesepe, the Gauselmann subsidiary with nearly 200 adult gaming centres, FECs, bingo clubs and an online casino, will gradually relinquish that role. He is now Gauselmann’s senior advisor for the British business activities of the group.
The new position will see him assume responsibility for “political and association work and public relations for all operating subsidiaries of the group in the UK.” Harding will move into a new office in London, reporting directly to company founder Paul Gauselmann and working closely with management board member Manfred Stoffers, who heads up marketing, communications and political affairs.
In the new role he will work closely with all of the top management at the German parent company and at political level he will advise and represent the UK companies – Blueprint Gaming, Regal Gaming, Betcom and Praesepe.
Harding has over 35 years’ experience in the gambling sector. He established Praesepe as a public company in 2007 and it quickly became a leading operator of adult gaming centres in the UK. It was acquired by Gauselmann in 2012. It is his long experience in the British gaming market coupled with his years in leading positions communicating with lawmakers for the gambling sector that led to Harding being targeted for this unique new role by the Gauselmann Group.
This year at ICE 2018 Gamestec is unveiling a new sub-brand: Gamestec Interactive Gaming.
Spearheading the transition from analogue to digital, Gamestec Interactive Gaming will deliver a laser focussed approach to supporting both the customer and players needs with a broad depth of core and complimentary digital product offers. Supporting the product will be a dynamic platform which will further push the boundaries of single site operations and continue to drive the market with a true approach to server supported gaming.
At ICE 2018 Gamestec Interactive Gaming will be demonstrating a suite of complimentary products that work collaboratively or as standalone, the first of these being the Signature Collection.
Lee Jefferson, Sales & Marketing Director commented; “Last year saw a huge demand for our digital products, iPub and iPub2. With the wide acceptance that digital products are now forming the core gaming offer for the single site market, we have established Gamestec Interactive Gaming to further deliver a fully focussed brand that can lead from the front and further define the digital roadmap giving players best of breed content across multiple products designed to work as a collaborative package or singularly as a standalone solution. The Signature Collection is just the beginning.”
Bacta has responded to concerns voiced by Division 2 members about the growing trend for publicans to use personal licences to stream background music in-venue like Spotify, a practice which costs the copyright licensing bodies an estimated £6 million per annum and the industry represented by bacta around £1,500 per site lost.
Following discussions with bacta members who are concerned at the practice, which is essentially a copyright infringement, bacta Chief Executive, John White, has taken up the issues with the PPL. He explained: “A bacta delegation before Christmas had a positive meeting with Peter Leatham, my opposite number at the PPL, in order to explain the concerns of bacta members and to try and scope out the size of the problem which we believe has been greatly under reported.
“Using a personal licence to stream music in commercial premises is illegal. The PPL/PRS web site is quite clear when it states: Playing music in public without the appropriate licences in place is copyright infringement and is unfair not only to the members of each of PPL and PRS for Music who are legally entitled to a fair payment for the use of their work, but also to the many other businesses and organisations playing music who have obtained those licences.
“We have opened up the conversation with the PPL and I am looking forward to progressing the debate and arriving at an acceptable solution. In the meantime, I am delighted to confirm that the PPL has agreed to suspend its 4% Dubbing Licence increase pending a satisfactory conclusion to this issue.”
A further meeting to discuss the dubbing licence with PRS has been scheduled for February.