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Written on 9th December 2020
Well the November lockdown may be officially over but only in name for so many. Our Kent arcades are not permitted to open due to being in Tier 3 like many parts of the UK. Tier 1 and 2 permit arcades to be open but Tier 3 only allows bookmakers to be open for 15 minutes of play only, kinda pointless for anyone I feel. However our trade associastion BACTA seems convinced that any AGC venues should be open in Tier 3 abiding by the following restrictions:
Temperature Check on entry
Only 10 machines on per location (2 of which are B3 - £500 Jackpot)
15 minutes play time ONLY with max visits capped at 2 per day
I am puzzled by the thought process (or lack of) with even contemplating such a ludricous desire to adopt these rules. Any machine player will know that a feature can take a few minutes, so capped play just doesn't suit.
The help by grants from the government is dire, however there is no infinite pot and surely we all realise we will take a knock from such a disaster as COVID. Many great businesses have already perished, and more will sadly fall. However we, as a company have dug deep, even with no cash reserves and through extreme hard work and creativity we are weathering the storm; for now.
So to see that BACTA are pushing hard against us in two ways is quite concerning. On one hand the politically motivated trade body is 'lobbying' (their repeated buzz word) for restrictions that would be costly and disastrous for most arcades. Opening with restrictions above would be awful as an experience for the player and financial suicide for the operator. The second way BACTA desire to make things tougher for 2021 (again a political stunt) is to make all members adopt an Over 18 rule for reel based cash payout fruit machines, including the £5 Jackpot. Naturally, with a tunnel visioned approach, the ticket fruit machine is allowed for all ages. Also the ticket machines that have percentages as low as 30% payout are deemed 'safe' for the children and their families, albeit that almost all are games of chance and also therefore gambling as a fruit machine is catrgorised. The arguement of Cat D machines being allowed by young players is always a hot debate, however the industry (with the same jackpot) operated these exact stakes 25 years ago. So its questionable why they were deemed 'fine' for the last 25 years with the last review Bacta pushing hard for a DOUBLING of stake and prize. Recently the industry adopted an Over 16 rule unless accompanied by an adult - this worked and was the right policy, even over 18 unless accompanied would suit. The fruit machines have been pulled out of many arcades in favour of TAX FREE ticket machines with higher stakes and a fraction of the RTP (Return to player). Anyone would think the industry is running scared and trying to protect the lucrative 'licence to print money' ticket machines which inevitably will come under the spotlight for their lack of fairness. Twenty Five years ago a fiver was worth winning, now to win £5 Jackpot is pretty much entertainment only, however this is the industry we are in and we still firmly believe there is a worthy place for the small stake and small jackpot. We will miss the many families all enjoying the small stake machines, especially the tuppenny nudgers and such. Britain is about to lose one of its most well supported and enjoyed past-times for a quarter of a century.
Many of you will be pleased to know that we have released almost all of our Deal or No Deal fruit machines! This is a great step forward for us and whilst many of the machines came in clearances we had a few of the original ones from 2005 in our stock. We have taken the decision to blanket ban Deal or No Deal games from ALL locations due to them being widely recognised as the demise of enjoyable fruit machines. We have a wealth of classic machines that we want and NEED to share with you all, and this is our intention.
Passing through Bognor Regis are some classic arcade games such as Greedy Gobs, House of the Dead, Musical Chairs and soon to be Wheel Em in. We like to keep things fresh in the arcade and keep a mix of iconic classic amusement machines.
The first week back in Bognor has been a very busy one, and whilst its been GREAT to be back its been even BETTER to see so many of you again! Its the people that make the place and you guys have been very supportive and it has been a pleasure to welcome you all back.
This will be the last weekly waffle of the year, whilst we await the Christmas Message 2020. This years message will be one to settle a few things for good and announce what is in store for 2021. The Christmas Message is always written on the Christmas morning and is (same as the waffle) written from the heart and with no holds barred.
We hope that you all now put down your devices, get out to the shops (where possible) and SUPPORT your high street shops as much as you can, it really needs it.
Thank you for reading and apologies for the lack of 'bounce' in this waffle, but I can assure you that our passion is stronger than ever..
All the best,
Dave, Amelia, Ruby and Scarlett xxxx