UK Cat C sector under threat says Peter Weir


The UK fruit machine industry is under threat from overseas influence, claims an influential independent machine operator.

Peter Weir, Chairman of the Independent Operators’ Association, the IOA Group, claims that the partnership between manufacturer and operators is in danger of being thrown out of balance.

“The process of Category C machine development, production and testing requires evaluation, commitment and partnership. The market requires a low-cost machine base, which is reflected in rents and shares that are available to site and operate these machines. In other words, the machine purchase price need to reflect the market rental or cash box share for category C machines and that includes both reels and digital models,” he explained.

“The obvious concern is that there has been a decline in the number of manufacturers along with the numbers of AWPs and a decline in the number of machine operators along with a decline in the number of pubs. For the Category C model to survive, we need a robust commercial model, if we do not have this, we may be faced with some form of European commercial model that may well restrict choice for the market place. Then the decision-making power base will shift and that will dictate the commercial model for the rental and the cash box share distribution.”

Nick Wheeler Corporate Sales Manager at leading UK operator Kossway believes that if the UK industry is to be protected, then testing needs to be looked at. “There is going to a reduction in numbers due to the closure of premises, unless we all want to be left with dongle charges or worse, operators and retailers need to support new entrants into the Cat C market,” he says. “The testing process needs looking at, smaller manufacturers simply cannot afford to make a machine for test and then have them all returned, of course performance is key, but all interested parties must work together to give the industry choice now and in the future.”

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These comments are correct.
The commercial model that makes it viable for all parties to pay attention to this sector needs addressing before the sector becomes of no importance.

roy howell
13/12/2012, 15:59

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