The hot topic continues to be “when are we going to see a consultation document for the Triennial Review?”

nicks_blogSo all of a sudden Easter is with us again. I’m not sure whether it is a function of being ‘full of busy’ as an old friend of mine used to say, or whether it is actually a function of our advancing years but each year seems to rocket by like one of those Virgin Pendolino trains that charge through Milton Keynes station every twenty minutes.

Easter has, by all accounts, got our FEC arcades off to a good start this year; it is early of course which is always helpful. I was down in the West Country on Good Friday and all the arcades were doing a roaring trade, everything looked good, the new machines had been well placed in new layouts and the staff were all on the ball, so well done to everyone in the team involved in preparing things over the winter. In Burnham we were so busy that Pauline and her team were a blur of activity and in Hunstanton, Angelique had laid on Face Painting for the kids; just a part of the way she is rewriting the FEC management handbook!   And we seem to have survived Storm Katie without any significant damage as well…

At our High Street venues and in our bingo clubs, the hot topic continues to be “when are we going to see a consultation document for the Triennial Review?”   Back in November the Gambling Minister Tracy Crouch told me to expect a consultation document in January. Then she went off on maternity leave and suddenly Civil Servants are saying that they ‘have no information on the timing of any review’. I do realise of course that the ongoing brou ha ha over the FOBT machines (aka B2 gaming machines) is muddying the regulatory and political landscape for UK Gaming Plc but so what?   What other industry, anywhere would be able to survive without the ability to adjust its product lines or its prices for over four years?  Particularly when it has to compete against an on-line and mobile gaming industry where quite literally any combination of stake and prize is completely acceptable?  We will continue to press for common sense to prevail, using our membership of the Bingo Association, BACTA and the Gambling Business Group for further leverage if we are able.

Finally anyone who knows us as a Company will know about our ongoing commitment to the CHIPs charity, run by Linda Lindsay and which provides powered wheelchairs to disabled children. We will soon be starting our annual fundraising efforts through the good offices of all our Venue Managers and will be hoping to beat last years figure of £120k.  As a Company we have now raised over £500k, an achievement that we are all really proud of. If you are asked to donate in any way then do please dig deep!  I should add that this year as part of the process, myself and about twelve hardy (or is that foolhardy) souls from our Milton Keynes office will be attempting the Three Peaks Challenge, which I am very much looking forward to…


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