Machines & Gaming: Marketing machines

Related tags Fruit machines Gambling in the united kingdom Slot machine

Machines income has been on the decline in pubs in recent times, and research unveiled at the ATEI show at the end of January suggests it may be down...

Machines income has been on the decline in pubs in recent times, and research unveiled at the ATEI show at the end of January suggests it may be down to AWP and SWP companies to change that - through better marketing.

The survey, commissioned by Gamestec, one of the UK's big two machine operators working in the pub sector, demonstrated a disparity between how consumers view gaming in the pub and the way they view other forms of gambling such as scratchcards or the National Lottery.

Forty per cent of non-players of fruit and quiz machines who answered the survey do not play because they 'regard fruit and quiz machines as like gambling'. However, 44 per cent of the 4,500 members of the public surveyed played the National Lottery once a week and nine per cent bought scratchcards at least once a week, forms of entertainment that are gambling just as much as fruit machines.

Significantly, Gamestec believes, scratchcards and the lottery are both more widely marketed within the mass media than pub games machines.

The Gambling Act 2005, implemented last year, gave the gaming industry much greater freedom to advertise. 'Off-machine advertising' of gaming products is allowed under the Act for the first time. This means that adverts will be allowed on TV and in other conventional media - and also in pubs.

But as Gamestec managing director Rolf Nielsen admits, games manufacturers have yet to come up with a coordinated strategy for taking advantage of this.

"We wanted advertising to be more comprehensively thought through, getting the proposition right before approaching a pubco," he says, adding that the new research should now allow Gamestec to do this.

The research also pointed to differences in how consumers view fruit machines and quiz machines. Forty-one per cent of frequent fruit machine players play for enjoyment and 25 per cent to win large amounts of money. Fifty-six per cent of frequent quiz machine players play for enjoyment and 16 per cent to win large amounts of money.

Gamestec concludes that 'quiz machines are a social activity, unlike fruit machines', 'quiz machine players will generally only play in the pub' and that 'fruit machine players prefer traditional-looking machines - quiz machine players are much more interested in branding'.

On display at ATEI were a number of prototype quiz machines and fruit machines that Gamestec has designed to help consumers differentiate between the two.

"We have to acknowledge there are two types of consumers playing quiz and fruit machines," says Rolf. "It's not an impossible task to target people who are currently non-players. We have to channel non-player advertising and initiatives effectively. Non-players have a blanket disdain towards both types of machine, whereas regular players can differentiate between the two."

Related topics Marketing

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