MPs, including Iain Duncan Smith are calling the Chancellor Philip Hammond ‘morally reprehensible’ for delaying the reduction in FOBT stakes until 2020.
Politicians and industry pundits are astounded by the reported delay in implementing the £2 stake, according to a report in today’s Guardian newspaper.
A letter, seen by the Guardian, criticises the Treasury for prioritising the duty collected from the machines, worth more than £600m a year, over problem gambling.
“On the losses from taxation revenue: firstly it is morally reprehensible that the government is propping up its finances through taking revenue from FOBTs,” said members of the cross-party group on FOBTs, led by Labour’s Carolyn Harris.
They pointed out that the Treasury already expects to make up any tax shortfall by increasing duty on online gambling from April 2019.
“It is not therefore justifiable to continue to gain revenue from FOBTs for a further year when an alternative revenue stream will have been put in place,” says the letter, which is understood to have the support of more than 30 MPs and members of the House of Lords.
Playtech has agreed a deal to become the exclusive bingo and casino platform and content provider for UK market leader Gala Leisure.
The deal will see Playtech’s omni-channel technology power Gala’s gaming offering as it transitions to new brand Buzz Bingo.
Operated using Playtech’s IMS player management system, which supports real-time player engagement and data driven CRM, the deal will also include access to all of
Playtech’s best-performing bingo and slot games on its handheld Electronic Bingo Terminals in Buzz Bingo clubs.
Playtech One’s omni-channel solution is expected to be available across all channels in 2019, meaning Buzz Bingo customers will be able to use their single wallet not only for all online and in-venue play, but also to order food and drinks using one seamless wallet experience.
Shimon Akad, COO, Playtech, said: “We are delighted to announce this new strategic partnership with the UK’s market leader in bingo.
“Through Playtech ONE we have proven the value our technology can bring to leading retail brands. Our data driven Omni-channel technology allows operators to devise bespoke, intelligent marketing campaigns and seamless online and offline customer journeys. This means that, on average, an Omni-channel player will spend twice as much as that of a single channel player. We are very excited to be partnering with Gala Leisure and its new Buzz Bingo brand.”
Following extensive site trials, Gauselmann subsidiary Blueprint Operations has rolled out Live 5 Gaming’s B3 ‘Stairway to Heaven’ across its estate.
Blueprint is the leading supplier of digital gaming solutions in the UK and as well as supplying its own games, offers some of the best third-party content from carefully selected suppliers. Stairway to Heaven is the second successful game that Live 5 has supplied to Blueprint. The original Stairway to Heaven title was released in 2017 on Sky Vegas before becoming one of the first games that Live 5 supplied to NYX, ordered by some of the world’s leading online casinos.
Lloyd Butler CEO of Live 5 Gaming commented, “We are one of only a few companies offering our content across all channels; online and retail. The Blueprint Aurora terminals really show off our content beautifully. We are in continual discussions with Blueprint regarding further titles to follow, further cementing the excellent relationship between Blueprint and Live 5.”
“Feedback from our customers shows that it is the variety and quality of the games on the B3 Carbon Menu that is the secret to its success in the market,” says Simon Barff, Managing Director of Blueprint Machines. “We look for the very best content, not only from our own development teams but from third party developers and we monitor the performance of each and every title to ensure that it has earned its place on the menu. Stairway to Heaven has earned its place and complements our existing offer.”
Novomatic UK has opened up a new phase of industry opportunity by making the iPub2, its top performing, digital gaming product, available to the independent sector. The development, which follows a previous exclusive relationship that was in place with Gamestec, has been enthusiastically welcomed, with leading independents Bob Rudd Leisure and Essex Leisure contributing to what Bell-Fruit, Sales and Marketing Director, Ian Shreeve described as ‘significant three figure orders’ for the product.
Ian Shreeve said: “Following an eight year exclusive relationship with Gamestec, which has been highly successful for all parties, not least for the on-trade, I am delighted that we have been able to make the iPub2 available to all of the industry via the independent operating sector. We have been working extremely closely with a number of independent operators to ensure the iPub2 meets their operational requirements. This has been a collaborative process that has included delivering the right peripherals, the right technology, the right content and the right financial terms that are sympathetic to the dynamics of the pub market.
Bacta President Gabi Stergides and Shafiya Shah, Corporate Account Manager at the Rays of Sunshine charity, were on hand at the recent Park Avenue Open Day to accept a cheque for £1,000 on behalf of the Bulldog Games brand of pusher and redemption equipment. The charitable donation was triggered when Andrew Polloni, of Pastimes in Seaton, Devon, placed an order with RLMS Sales Key Account Manager, Chris Widdowson, for a six player Monopoly, in the process taking the number of Bulldog pusher beds sold so far this year beyond the landmark figure of 1,500.
Tony Glanville, Managing Director of exclusive distributor, RLMS Sales, explained: “We came into Park Avenue knowing that we were close to completing the orders that would take us over 1,500 poker beds since Bulldog was unveiled to the industry at January’s EAG. The RLMS team has been active in the market helping customers to secure their Bulldog equipment in time for the summer season and I am delighted that Andrew placed the order which activated the donation. Rays of Sunshine is a fantastic charity and I’m delighted that the success of the Bulldog Games brand has helped raise a further £1,000.”
Manufactured in the UK, the Bulldog Games brand is available on a range of terms and is backed by a comprehensive after sales and technical support service.
Today bacta, the trade association for the UK’s amusement and gaming machine industry, has presented a cheque for £14,000 to Young Gamblers Education Trust (YGAM) to help it with its work in safeguarding young people against problem gambling.
Lee Willows, Chief Executive of YGAM says “We are hugely appreciative of bacta’s support to YGAM. Our educational resources are consistently evolving as we scale our reach across the United Kingdom and gain further insight of what is effective. Bacta’s support to help us further strengthen these educational resources are really welcome; in particular we are being asked to do more with parents and we will use the donation from bacta to develop a suite of parent facing material and then pilot these. We are also grateful that bacta members, such a Silcok Leisure, are also supporting YGAM and we very much hope to build upon our work with bacta.”
John White, Chief Executive of bacta added, “bacta is a staunch supporter of YGAM and will continue to be so in as many ways as we can, be this through offering our own facilities or financially. Safeguarding and educating young people to the dangers of problem gambling has and will remain a top priority for bacta and its members. We hope through this donation to help YGAM in its cause. We look forward to continuing to work closely with YGAM and learning from its commendable work.”
The cheque presentation took place at bacta’s head-quarters in Ely Place, Camden and was presented by bacta President, Gabi Stergides to Lee Willows, YGAM Chief Executive.
BANDAI NAMCO Amusement Europe (BNAE) has completed a new turnkey FEC project in Tblisi, Georgia. Since the opening in Spring 2018, the location has enjoyed the highest footfall of any FEC in the whole country.
“The development was a challenge, as BNAE was given an extremely short timeline to complete the project, from the early concept design to the fit out and installation of the location. However, despite the timeline challenge, and thanks to our unique partnership with the design specialists OPL, we have delivered outstanding results,” said Darius Kaskelis, Business Development Manager.
The FEC features a soft play area and bumper cars, as well as the highest-earning amusement machines in the market today, supplied by BNAE. These include video and redemption titles from BANDAI NAMCO, Raw Thrills, Adrenaline, Andamiro and Apple Industries.
BNAE is now involved in multiple new projects across Africa, MENA, Europe and US. As a leading international games developer, distributor and operator, BNAE is ideally placed to understand the customers’ needs and challenges.
Blueprint Machines, a member of the Gauselmann Group and specialist maritime, defence and leisure operator OBL Group have completed their second installation for Marella Cruises, owned by TUI – for their new cruise ship the Marella Explorer.
A year to the day since their first successful project on the Marella Discovery 2, Blueprint have supplied 14 of their, market leading Aurora Cabinets, with a mixture of Blueprint’s B3 Premium and Carbon II content with leading B3 titles; Luck of the Irish PS, Eye of Horus, Fishing Frenzy & King Kong Cash, complemented by the innovative Cat C Community Cash Vault – boasting an impressive array of community and slots titles.
This installation also boasts a first-time connection to the, Gauselmann developed MARS machine management and TiTo system, delivering improved cash handling processes to OBL. The machines software has also been enhanced to accept multiple currencies delivering the best possible player experience to Marella customers.
Blueprint Machines’ Key Account Manager Andy Hall was responsible for coordinating the project and worked closely with the OBL Group Team to ensure a seamless delivery and installation process.
Jon Dyson, MD of OBL Group commented: “OBL have seen continued success from the Blueprint offer across all of our business and we are committed to a long-term partnership with Blueprint Machines to supply the best of breed into all sectors of our business. We are proud to be working with Marella to provide our complete end to end Casino and Slots offer and we are already looking ahead to the launch of the Marella Explorer 2 in Spring 2019”
John Kelly, the founder of Gala Coral Group has been invited to join Gala Leisure as non-executive chairman this week at a time when the company is planning a major rebrand as Buzz Bingo, with plans to increase its presence online.
Mr. Kelly has been serving as Chairman of betting giant Ladbrokes Coral until its buyout by GVC.
Chris Matthews, the chief executive of Gala Leisure, said Mr Kelly had a “deep understanding” of gaming and bingo. He said: “As we begin our new strategy and look towards online in the future, we are delighted to bring John back to where he started, having founded the Gala operations.
Bacta has strengthened its field based compliance team with the appointment of former police officer David Miller to the post of Regional Compliance Officer with responsibility for London and the Home Counties as well as Eastern and Southern regions. Southend-on-Sea based David, who reports to Simon Bradbury, Bacta’s Head of Social Responsibility and Compliance, spent three decades with Essex Police during which time he attained the rank of Inspector, a position he held for 15-years. During his time with Essex Police he undertook specialist projects and directed policing events and critical incidents at the highest level. He was also responsible for drafting the Essex Police Restorative Justice policy document and organised seminars and presentations to Criminal Justice Board, partnership agencies and local government officials.