Retail giant intu is building a 175,000 sq ft leisure extension at Lakeside that will host Nickelodeon’s first UK shopping centre attraction.
The £73 million scheme will open in 2018, anchored by a Nickelodeon-themed family entertainment centre and one of Hollywood Bowl’s biggest tenpin bowling venues.
Rebecca Ryman, regional managing director at intu, said: “We’re investing millions at intu Lakeside to ensure that it can deliver one of the biggest and best shopping and leisure experiences in the country It is going to provide a fantastic new space for leisure brands to flourish at intu Lakeside and create even more compelling reasons for families to enjoy a day out experience with us.”
McLaren will begin construction work this month under a contract believed to be worth around £45m.
Rank Group has reported a seven per cent drop in annual pre-tax profits to £79.7m.
Amusement machine revenue was down 3 per cent to £69.7m and interval game revenue down 7 per cent, food and drink revenue also dropped by two per cent. Total group like-for-like revenue was up 1.0 per cent to £754 million, boosted by a 15 per cent increase in UK digital revenue to £111.5 million.
On a statutory basis, revenues were broadly flat at £707.2 million (2015/16: £708.5 million).
At its Grosvenor casinos division, revenue was down 2.6 per cent to £397.2 million and operating profit was down 14 per cent to £52.1 million which Rank blamed on a combination of “macro-economic conditions, customer due diligence, venue closures and competitor openings”.
Chief executive Henry Birch said: “After a challenging first half of our financial year, we are very pleased with our second half performance, especially with our digital business which delivered 63 per cent growth in operating profit for the year.”
Five people have been banned from 24 betting shops across Birmingham, UK, by Betwatch – a partnership between the Gambling Commission, the police, local council and bookmakers.
The initiative is designed to tackle localised anti-social and criminal behaviour in and around betting shops.
This comes following concerns raised by Birmingham City Council and West Midlands Police about suspected drug dealing and anti-social behaviour linked to one bookmaker.
The individuals were issued with ban notices by Betwatch, prohibiting them from entering any betting shops in the city centre. Names and images have also been circulated among the betting shops to allow staff to identify the individuals concerned.
A new name to the attractions industry, Frontgrid, has partnered with well-known dynamic simulation attractions specialist Simworx to introduce a brand new, world first product to the market which will be officially launched at EAS 2017 in Berlin.
ParadropVR™ (patent pending) is an IP protected, immersive, virtual reality (VR) attraction featuring integrated gamification which allows the user to fully control the game play and movement. Developed by the UK based Frontgrid team led by co-founders David Wood and Matt Wells, Chairman and Chief Executive respectively, ParadropVR™ provides a truly immersive VR experience that simulates flying a paraglider, with up and down motion that incorporates sudden drops and smooth deceleration to create a realistic feeling of gliding through the skies.
The ride also features an interactive game element controlled by the participant, with points awarded to each individual rider as they make their way ‘back down to earth’ via a series of targets through which they must fly to score maximum points.
Increased jukebox sales, conversions and upgrades, and the ground-breaking introduction of cashless payment is creating another record year for Leeds-based NSM Music.
‘We promised, when we were acquired by music and video entertainment market leader AMI Entertainment Network at the start of the year, that it would pave the way for exciting new products and services for our customers, and that the day-to-day operations of NSM Music would not change,” said Martin Agabeg, NSM Music’s General Manager.
“The fact is that we’ve achieved more than we planned in the last six months, and there’s more to come. We really have felt a massive difference in sales this year”
“There’s never been a better time for operators to update their aging equipment and keep up with all the developments in new technology.
“We’re making upgrades possible and new jukeboxes affordable, with competitive pricing and payment plans. Enhancements, such as contactless payment, are being welcomed by the industry,” added Martin.
NSM Music confirmed there are more announcements to come around product improvements in the run up to the Autumn Coin Op Show in October and January’s EAG event.
“Rumours, which are totally unfounded, sometimes circulate in any industry – it was suggested by some that AMI’s takeover would mean an end to the NSM Music brand in the UK and, indeed, Europe. “This couldn’t be further from the truth and these are exciting times to be an NSM Music customer and someone who enjoys using our jukeboxes.
“We’ve continuously broken new ground over seven decades. We’re pioneers and that’s why we’re committed to investing in continuous improvements in products and services for all our customers and the end-user,” said Martin.
With organisers promising a sharp increase in exhibitors, the Autumn Coin-Op Show will return to Chelsea Football Club on 11th and 12th October 2017.
Show Organiser Karen Cooke explains: “It’s hard to believe that ACOS is already in its fourth year. The show was created to serve our industry and was born out of requests for a relaxed and informal event at which industry members could compare notes on the summer’s trading and view products scheduled for release in the New Year.
“ACOS’s year on year growth is proof that the formula is working, but it’s really important that we stay true to the show’s character. Chelsea Football Club’s excellent facilities and convenient location have contributed a great deal to the show and this year we’ve worked closely with the venue to free-up additional floor space for new exhibitors. We’ve also added another bar and re-designed the seating areas for improved visitor flow,” reveals Karen.
For 2017 first-time exhibitors will include Astrosystems, Instance Automatics, Whitehouse Leisure International and Storm Gaming Technology.
Instance Automatics’ Ian Eason is eagerly anticipating his company’s ACOS debut saying, “We decided to do the ACOS show as we now have more equipment aimed at the brewery and inland operating environment. We’re aware that ACOS has a strong appeal to this sector .
“Among the great range of machines on our stand will be UNIS’s Lane Master, our number one seller and income generator. We will also be previewing the UNIS Omni VR Arena, a new kind of virtual reality experience that allows full freedom of movement in the game and full body control of the experience…… this piece of kit is something else!”
Regular contributor to Coin-op Community, John Stergides sent us these photographs from his recent visit to Felixtowe Pier for the grand opening of the FEC on July 29. He is pictured with his son John Anthony and Stan Threadwell, as well as Stan’s sister Debbie Woodmansee.
“Electrocoin supplied a GoGo Chicken capsule vendor, ticket eaters , a SQL redemption support/management system, a Digital Center photo booth with the new generation panther and large LEDscreen photobooth as well as Monte Carlo Cat C machines.
“The new FEC is a real eye-opener,” says John. “It is well designed for all ages, with a great family atmosphere. Stan and his team have done a great job; the location is a jewel in the crown of our industry which will give our sector a real boost. We all must congratulate Stan Threadwell and others such as Brian Bell who have made such a great investment in our industry.”
Bacta chief executive John White has reassured members that contrary to recent speculation, the review of FOBT stakes has not been shelved and is encouraging chancellor Philip Hammond to take a holistic view of the broad and powerful economic benefits contained within the association’s triennial submission. Commenting on last week’s story which appeared in the Daily Mail, White said: “I think we should view this in context. Parliament is in recess and we are in what is widely regarded as being the ‘silly season’ for news. Furthermore, anyone who follows Tracey Crouch on Twitter will have seen that she labelled this simply as ‘Fake News’.
“The story, which was repudiated in a follow up piece which appeared in The Times, does however, provide us with an opportunity to press home bacta’s economic and social case for a progressive approach to stakes and prizes that will enable our member companies to continue to make important contributions to regional economies throughout the country; not least those at the coast where many millions of UK citizens and international visitors will be holidaying this summer.
“I have written to the Chancellor to underline the key economic and social arguments contained within our triennial submission and the findings of the Landman Report which showed that money spent in other parts of the leisure economy generate 3.5 times the number of jobs compared to when the same sum is spent within Licensed Betting Offices.
“We want to be proud of an industry that is recognised for what it is – a progressive, respected and socially responsible entertainment choice. The well documented levels of social harm caused by FOBTs as they are currently configured, is damaging the reputation of gaming per se and bringing it into disrepute.”
Astra Games and Bell-Fruit Games, part of NOVOMATIC UK, have launched an employee of the month competition that rewards staff who go above and beyond the call of regular duties in their daily jobs. Every month, the worker that has demonstrated exceptional commitment and initiative in their role will be handed the keys to a range topping Ford Mustang convertible.
The recipients of the July award are Claire Peet, Sales Office Manager at Astra Games, and Wayne Gibbins, Supply Development Engineer at Bell-Fruit Games. Both will enjoy their shiny set of wheels for a full month as well as a dedicated parking space.
Chris Butler, Managing Director of Astra and BFG, explained more about the initiative. “This is very much a people industry that we’re in, so it’s vitally important that we recognise and reward the hard work and commitment shown by those individuals who go the extra mile to add value to our business. Well done to our first winners, Claire and Wayne, who have set the high standards for others to follow.”
Bell-Fruit Games has issued a fond farewell to one of its longest serving members of staff this month with the announcement that Group Sales and Customer Liaison Manager Vanda Osinska has officially retired.
Vanda first joined Bell-Fruit back in 1982 as a sales executive covering Leeds and the north, eventually moving into sales office management at the firm’s Nottingham HQ and latterly her UK sales and customer liaison role. During that 35-year period she became established as the ‘face’ of Bell-Fruit and was an incredibly popular industry figure.
Speaking during an interview as part of BFG’s 50th anniversary in 2013, Vanda summarised her approach to the business, saying: “I love to be seen promoting the company. I like having good product to sell and the integrity to sell it. I would never try to sell a bad product. I’d never say that something was good just for the sake of getting a sale. And I think that’s probably what’s helped me over the years.”
BFG Managing Director Chris Butler commented: “On behalf of everyone at Bell-Fruit and the NOVOMATIC UK Group I’d like to wish Vanda all the very best for her retirement and issue a big thank you for her loyalty and committed service to the company. Thirty-five years is a long time in any business, especially in the cut and thrust of the UK manufacturing sector, and I’m certain that there will be many in the business that will miss her presence at trade shows and events.”