White’s Week: Post show plans

21/02/2018

With our two major exhibitions out of the way and our response to the consultation document on FOBTs, stakes, prizes and SR measures sitting with DDCMS, it is a good time to take stock of our current activities.

  1. The campaign to secure a reduction in stake on FOBTs to £2 continues.  Now the responses have all been submitted, bacta’s work to communicate the case for a reduction moves very much to direct explanation with relevant stakeholders and continued efforts to get the message across in the media.  Our Report from the Centre for Economics and Business Research, which we commissioned to help the review establish more accurately the impact of the necessary policy decision on FOBTs, has landed well both with the media and with civil servants and MPs.  I am not surprised as it is a very comprehensive and persuasive piece of work that identifies that in all likelihood the impact of a decision to reduce the FOBT stake to £2 will not have anything like the impact the Government’s initial assessment identified.  We are taking the Treasury through the Report this week.  The Report has secured good media coverage too – I appeared on BBC Radio Scotland for example this morning to explain why the stake reduction was necessary.  A whole host of events with MPs will give us further opportunities to make the case.
  1. Our response to the DDCMS consultation document was not only about FOBTs.  We explained that the consultation document was simply wrong in its refusal to address the case for an uplift in stake and prize for category D non-complex machines and machines that pay out non-monetary prizes.
  1. We will be putting our case to the DDCMS Minister, Tracey Crouch, at the end of the month.
  1. I thought this year’s EAG was one of the best in recent years with an increased number of exhibitors and every corner of the hall feeling quietly busy.  Reports back from exhibitors have been generally positive.  A solid seminar programme enhanced visitors’ experience of the show and there was some interesting new product around.  VR systems particularly caught my eye and Kevin Williams’ seminar on the subject really got visitors thinking.
  1. Social Responsibility continues to be front and centre of our work.  As I said at the Convention doing more and doing it well is a precondition of any further changes in stakes, prizes and indeed Technical Standards.  It is why we have promoted Simon Bradbury to an enhanced role of Head of Social Responsibility and Compliance following Phil Silver’s retirement.  He is currently putting together a schedule of initiatives which we will roll out over the coming months and years.
  1. Simon (or Brad as we call him), is working with Robert Gibb, our Head of Finance, on the evaluation of ourSelf-Exclusion service.  We consulted members on how it is working during last year and there are a number of minor changes we would like to make to the way it works.  Plans have had to be postponed for a short while as the MD of our service provider, ISD, sadly died towards the end of last year and we are working with the Bingo Association and the interim MD to plan for the future.  We believe that the outcome will be positive.
  1. We are continuing to explore how the industry can meet the challenge of a future society where cashless payment is the norm.  An industry meeting is being held in March.
  1. We have responded to the Responsible Gambling Strategy Board’s second year progress assessment of its strategic plan.
  1. We are also preparing a response to the Gambling Commission’s consultation on changes to the LCCP linked to the fair and open licensing objective.
  1. We are holding talks with PPL and PRS over their tariffs.

As you can see there is plenty going on and there is plenty more I haven’t mentioned.  As always if you have any questions or observations please do get in touch.  Better still come along to your Regional Meeting.  Parveen circulated the dates for the year, last week.

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