A major investigation is underway in Dublin after an arcade was raided in a highly organised heist which saw an estimated €70,000 in cash stolen and a further €270,000 caused in damage to property.
Courtdown Amusement Centre was targeted in the robbery which appears to have been very carefully planned leading local papers to liken the theft to the film franchise starring George Clooney. Thieves cut wires at a phone site in the area in order to disconnect the alarm system at the arcade ahead of the raid. However, once inside, the thieves smashed the arcade up indiscriminately and made off with mostly coins. Dozens of machines and other equipment were smashed to smithereens.
Cashino Gaming, the 171 venue UK chain of Adult Gaming Centres (AGCs) launched 10-years ago by respected industry figure, Nick Harding, has been highlighted by Daily Telegraph business correspondent, Sophie Christie, for its stance on equal pay for its male and female employees. Cashino, which was cited for its progressive outlook, appeared in The Telegraph alongside The British Museum, Europcar, Evans Cycles, Biffa, UK Mail, Unilever and Ocado.
The report, which is based on data from British companies with more than 250 employees, stated that while companies such as easyJet and retailer Phase Eight are paying women 52pc and 65pc less than men per hour, female employees at Cashino Gaming receive 0.7pc more than their male counterparts. This, argued the paper, was in contrast to gambling firms Ladbrokes and Coral who, according to the data, pay their male staff 15pc and 14pc more than female staff members, respectively.
Nick Harding, Senior Advisor to Gauselmann UK said: “I am delighted to have what I believe to be the very best team in the UK AGC sector and one which regularly goes beyond the call of duty in order to deliver the best possible customer experience. I’m proud that Cashino Gaming has been recognised for its approach to pay which is based on recognising excellence in the work place.”
The Gambling Commission has published the 2017 gambling participation and perceptions report, revealing the latest gambling consumer trends in Britain.
The report tracks participation rates, problem gambling estimates, online gambling behaviour, consumer awareness of gambling management tools and attitudes towards gambling.
Ben Haden, programme director at the Gambling Commission said: “Our new three year strategy sets out our role in developing a strong evidence base and improved understanding of the impact gambling has on society. Today’s report makes an important contribution to that work as it presents a comprehensive view on how the British public is choosing the gamble and their attitudes to the current market.
“Our research shows the main factor that influences where someone gambles, is a company with a reputation for being fair and trustworthy. The message from that is clear – gambling companies that treat their customers well and act responsibly will be at an increasingly competitive advantage.”
Ladbrokes has confirmed it wants to change an LBO in Nuneaton into an AGC due to proposed changes in FOBT stakes, it has been confirmed.
The application has been submitted to Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council and it is being recommended the plan is given the go-ahead, especially given the number of other betting shops in the town centre.
“This contrast will add to the vitality and viability of the centre,” says a report to the Town Hall’s planning committee. “It is likely that uses such as this will be open during the day, and potentially in to the evening, which will help to enliven this section of the street which is dominated by many daytime only uses.”
There have been concerns in the industry that a number of LBO sites may become vacant as they become less viable due to lower B2 stakes and that betting shop operators will seek to change use to AGCs.
Mat Ingram, Chief Product Officer at Reflex Gaming, has praised last week’s edition of ICE London for its ability to deliver what he described as ‘a continuous flow of serious gaming professionals throughout the length of ExCeL and the duration of the show.’ Reflex, which is active in both online and land based gaming verticals, used the comprehensive platform provided by ICE to announce its Remote Game Server (RGS) agreement with Malta licensed Leander and to officially launch its GamePro cabinet which will house all of the games creators new B3 compendiums and Category C content.
Heralding the agreement with Leander, Mat Ingram said: “The customer base that Leander delivers gives us access to major players in the online space such as Betsson and Stars Group. The agreement, which complements the RGS we have in place with Gameiom Technologies, is the latest major initiative secured by Reflex over the last 12 months and follows landmark developments including the content supply deals we have secured with tier one operators, Ladbrokes Coral, BetVictor and William Hill. It’s really important from our perspective to achieve the right fit with our commercial partners. We share a similar outlook and values with both Leander and Gameiom and we are looking forward to developing the full potential of those relationships as 2018 progresses.”
He added: “This is our third year at ICE following our entry into the online space. Each year we come to ICE having made significant progress and each year we leave ICE brimming with ideas and contacts made at the show. We have what I consider to be a really coherent and compelling product strategy and I am confident that we have everything in place to make 2018 a highly positive year for the business.”
Due to expansion, Blueprint Operations is pleased to announce the appointment of Gavin Wright to the position of Head of UK Sales.
Gavin joins the company from TCS/John Huxley where he was Senior Business Development Manager, identifying growth markets, new sales opportunities as well as managing key strategic relationships.
“Gavin joined us officially the day before ICE, which was obviously something of a baptism of fire,” says Simon Barff, Managing Director of Blueprint Operations. “He also attended our party during EAG, where he met some of our key customers. With his wealth of experience and track record for success, from TCS/John Huxley, we are confident that he will be instrumental in helping us to forge our path over the coming years, as he has a wealth of gaming experience to share with our customers and trading partners.”
“I am very excited to join Blueprint Operations as Head of UK Sales,” says Gavin. “I have watched the growth of the Blueprint brand in the marketplace and have the utmost respect for the might of the Gauselmann Group internationally. Blueprint has some truly market-leading products and I look forward to promoting them alongside the rest of the excellent team.”
Gavin (left) pictured with Content Manager James Lowe
Leading jukebox manufacturer Sound Leisure from Leeds has recently supplied its first Vinyl Rocket Jukebox to India for the Royal Enfield Garage Cafe in Goa. The Royal Enfield Garage Cafe has a motorcycle museum, a riding gear and apparel store, motorcycle sales and service area and a full service restaurant. The cafe celebrates the history of the brand and the spirit of exploration and adventure.
“This is the first of what we hope will be many of our jukeboxes heading to India,” says Sound Leisure’s Business Development Manager Nigel French. “Royal Enfield started out in Redditch in the UK in 1901 before moving to India during the 1950′s. Their motorcycles, like our jukeboxes are hand-built. The resurgence of the vinyl format for its warmer tone is significant. We at Sound Leisure combine this tone with retro good looks and enhance its enjoy-ability using the latest in technology.”
Highway Games, respected amusement industry online resource & distributor, is proud to announce it will distribute the first officially licensed pinball table from Homepin – Thunderbirds – based on the classic puppet science fiction series from the 1960s.
Homepin was founded by Australian Mike Kalinowski in 2013, with its manufacturing facility based in Shenzhen, China. The factory is managed by Australian electronic engineers with a combined industry experience in excess of 85 years. The company also manufactures a wide range of replacement PCBs.
“Thunderbirds is our first branded pinball table and it has been a labour of love for the team at Homepin, as we have been working on it for four years,” says Mike. “I watched the series as a kid in Australia, so it’s has been especially thrilling to create the first pinball table based on the title. I am very pleased to have Steve and the team at Highway Games for distribution and support.”
Thunderbirds immerses players in all the action of the International Rescue team, featuring authentic character voices and original music. The playfield includes Tracy Island with its retracting swimming pool and palm trees, which combined with the animated panels and authentic artwork on the backbox, create a retro effect combined with modern twists. With the ultimate aim of defeating International Rescue’s nemesis The Hood, the multi-gameplay of this machine makes it suitable for both novice and experienced players alike.
“As Australians, we too grew up watching Thunderbirds and we are very excited to work with Mike from Homepin to set up a profession distribution network for this great title across the world both for the coin-op and the home markets,” says Steve Josifovski, CEO of Highway Games. “Mike and his team have spent years meticulously creating every piece of Thunderbirds, we are very happy to be associated with it.”
In its first day press conference the Novomatic Group, through its CEO Harald Neumann, reported another record year.
“We had revenues of €2.56bn, up from €2.3bn last year – an increase of around 10 per cent. The most important event of the year, however, was the completion of the acquisition of 53 per cent of Ainsworth Game Technology. Both companies will continue as they are in the near future but in the future we will develop a single technical platform.”
He added that the second major issue was Germany and its new regulations. “The new rules for arcades are less restrictive than we expected and so our German business
is more stable than we thought it would be. However, we will have to replace our machines at a cost of about €200m.”
Neumann added that the group had continued to make acquisitions during 2017 but that 2018 will be a year of consolidation. “The group now has over 300 companies, with about 80 of these being acquired over the past two years. We will use this year to consolidate and then return to the expansion trail later.”
Ainsworth CEO Danny Gladstone said that the acquisition had been a “huge effort.” He added: “AGT had 236 licences which Novomatic had to be judged on. It was a long process. There was a lot of wortk to do on the technological side but also on the bringing together of two industry legends – Johann Graf and Len Ainsworth. As far as Ainsworth is concerned, being part of such a large unit complements everything that we do and is good for the industry in general.”
The picture shows, from left to right, Zane Mersich, head of Novomatic UK, Harald Neumann, Danny Gladstone and Thomas Graf, head of Novomatic Interactive.
In a key realignment of its UK senior management, Germany’s Gauselmann Group is moving Nick Harding to a new mainly political role – the first of its kind by a private company in the British market.
Harding, currently CEO at Praesepe, the Gauselmann subsidiary with nearly 200 adult gaming centres, FECs, bingo clubs and an online casino, will gradually relinquish that role. He is now Gauselmann’s senior advisor for the British business activities of the group.
The new position will see him assume responsibility for “political and association work and public relations for all operating subsidiaries of the group in the UK.” Harding will move into a new office in London, reporting directly to company founder Paul Gauselmann and working closely with management board member Manfred Stoffers, who heads up marketing, communications and political affairs.
In the new role he will work closely with all of the top management at the German parent company and at political level he will advise and represent the UK companies – Blueprint Gaming, Regal Gaming, Betcom and Praesepe.
Harding has over 35 years’ experience in the gambling sector. He established Praesepe as a public company in 2007 and it quickly became a leading operator of adult gaming centres in the UK. It was acquired by Gauselmann in 2012. It is his long experience in the British gaming market coupled with his years in leading positions communicating with lawmakers for the gambling sector that led to Harding being targeted for this unique new role by the Gauselmann Group.