What a fabulous show last week at ICE (at the risk of being repetitive) was a great show, took up all of Excel and even spilled over into the docks with the appearance of a ‘Mega Yacht’ courtesy of Microgaming (it looked more like an office block than a boat!). I feel sure that most attendees felt proud to be associated in some way with such a vibrant exciting and entrepreneurial industry.
Back at home, we now have the DCMS review of the £50 stake threshold on B2s published and are waiting for a consultation document on the next ‘Triennial’ review. This was promised by Tracy Crouch (the Gambling Minister) before she went on maternity leave but we now hear that the DCMS currently ‘have no plans’ to release this consultation document… Clearly the whole industry has been on hold for so long waiting for this review that the stultifying effect on the UK industry is huge. Games designers need adjustments to stake and prize ratios in order to create new algorithms and from those new games, with no change to the games ‘maths’ eventually these people run out of ideas and this in turn means no new products coming to market and players losing enthusiasm. A continuous cycle of development is needed, we used to have a very clear ‘triennial’ process which the whole industry bought into and what we now have is something approaching a quadrennial or even quintennial cycle forced on an industry which in turn finds itself having to compete with the on-line industry. The on-line industry can produce any game, with any maths, with no restrictions on stake or prizes whenever it wants. Its a crazy situation and one which will eventually mean even more job losses in the sector and a reduction in tax revenues for the government.
Lastly, last week during ICE week I was delighted to welcome Paul Gauselmann, the Chairman of Gauselmann Group to our business and to visit our Bingo Club at Cricklewood followed by further visits to two of our AGC venues at Ealing and Hounslow. I think it is fair to say that Herr Gauselmann was impressed with what he saw. His visit was very well received by our staff and I hope that he will be able to repeat this again next year during the ICE show week.