What a year!
2016 has been another fantastic year for the business and this is the first time that we have made back to back profits. We achieved this due to a number of reasons, but fundamentally it is down to everyone of the Praesepe team delivering on a consistent basis throughout the year. So it is a very well done to everyone involved in the business.
In 2016 the Praesepe family grew once again as we launched Merkur Engineering under the leadership of well known industry personality, Paul Langham. We also completed the purchase of Teddy’s AGC brand from William Clark.
The Praesepe head count now stands at 2,000 – a great achievement when you consider that when we first started, the company comprised just myself and a secretary!
The Triennial Review
Well, at last the process has started. The Triennial Review of stakes and prizes was finally announced by the government after, literally years of lobbying by the industry, a programme which Praesepe played a full and active part in. The Triennial Review is the method by which the government can establish a level playing field between the socially responsible low stake gaming entertainment offered by businesses such as Cashino and Beacon and the much harsher, some might say toxic hard gaming provided by licensed betting offices. If the government is serious about looking after the vulnerable, I trust they will address the way in which Fixed Odds Betting Terminals encourage individuals to chase their losses. The Triennial Review offers anything but a quick fix. My view is it will take the best part of 12 months for its findings to become law. If it moves at a faster pace, then that is a positive.
Another issue which should be firmly on the radar of every organisation operating gaming machines on the high street, is the rise and rise of contactless payments. In summary, as more and more people are using contactless payments in their daily lives, we, the gaming entertainment industry cannot afford to be left behind at any cost. Put simply we cannot allow the government to leave us isolated as the only sector on the high street not able to take contactless payments. For some sectors of low stake gaming, such as pubs, it would be the death knell.
A Blueprint for great games
I have been really encouraged by the stream of really strong product that has been coming from our Gauselmann sister company, Blueprint. The Alpha Star machine is, I believe, the best in the business. What really encourages me is the ergonomics of the machine. This is the first time a manufacturer has really paid attention to issues such as the comfort of the sitting position, the importance of creating a place on the machine where players can place their coffee or sandwiches and the stand out design credentials which contribute to the look and feel of a venue. Blueprint pays a huge amount of attention to the ergonomics of machine design and it shows.
A pioneering force
It would be remiss of me not to highlight the fantastic double digit growth posted by our parent company. It is a fantastic pioneering business led by a dynamic founder in Paul Gauselmann. I am sure I speak for all of the extended Praesepe family, when I say how proud we are to be able to contribute to the Gauselmann business.
Finally I would like to simply say a heart felt Thank You to everyone who continues to contribute to our on-going success and to wish you and your loved ones a healthy and rewarding 2017.