Pub quiz machine expert gets a life ban for winning

By Ewan Turney

- Last updated on GMT

Pub quiz machine expert gets a life ban for winning
A man who plays pub quiz machines for a living has been banned for life from a Laurel venue in Bournemouth after winning £20. Professional gamer...

A man who plays pub quiz machines for a living has been banned for life from a Laurel venue in Bournemouth after winning £20.

Professional gamer Paul Johnson, 43, from Southampton, Hampshire, was thrown out of the Litten Tree in Christchurch Road, Bournemouth, because he was "spoiling it for others"​.

Their policy seems to be you can play the machine as long as you don't win ​Paul Johnson, professional gamer.

Johnson turned "professional" in 1985, travelling the country and playing quiz machines in up to 20 pubs a day.

He claimed there are others like him who communicate via websites such as www.fruitchat.co.uk

"I only won £20. What is the problem with that?"​ he said. "Their policy seems to be you can play the machine as long as you don't win. I have been discriminated against."

He added: "It is not the first time people have reacted badly. I have been involved in car chases before.

"People think I am cheating but there is no system or sequence of answers. I probably make £10,000 profit a year."

Johnson took up quiz machine gaming after working for Winchester's council tax department. "I wanted to carry on my studies at university but could not as I only got a 2.2 degree,"​ he said. "I was bored stiff."

Following the incident at the Litten Tree, Johnson wrote a formal complaint to Laurel.

However, the high street operator feels its actions were right.

A spokesman said: "To protect customers' interests and give everyone a fair chance of success, it is company policy and normal industry practice to keep a look-out for anything which calls into question the validity of any win and also to discourage players of a professional standard from playing the machines in our pub.

"It is not fair on our other customers, who like to play them over a pint for a bit of fun and have the chance of winning a cash prize.

"In this particular case, the speed of scoring was highly unusual which raised concerns with the pub manager who acted in the interests of all of his customers."

Come across any professional gamers or are you one? Email us by clicking this link

Your CommentsRobert Feal-Martinez​ via email 04/05/2006"I have now had my machine removed. The level of abuse by the 'professional' players made it impossible to even recoup the rental. What other licensees should be aware of is the technique these players use. If whilst they are playing the machine they are constantly on their mobile they are communicating and receiving information from others in their group. They share playing patterns of particular machines. It is cheating in my book but sadly not unlawfull"

Related topics: Legislation, Entertainment

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