Fruit machines

BBPA calls for increased stakes and prizes for pub fruit machines

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

Gamble: the BBPA wants a change in fruit machine stakes and payouts
Gamble: the BBPA wants a change in fruit machine stakes and payouts

Related tags: Fruit machines, Pubs, Slot machine, Minimum wage, Bbpa

The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) is calling for a rise in fruit machine stakes and prizes, and for contactless payments to be allowed to help pubs meet consumer demands.  

The trade association has made the call in response to the Government’s review of gaming machines and social responsibility measures.

It wants the maximum stake for fruit machines to be upped from £1 to £2 and the maximum prize to be increased to £150 from £100.

It has asked the Government to consider allowing the use of contactless payment along with a review to simplify the technical standards around machines.

These proposals, the BBPA argues, will help to "future proof" amusement machines in the face of changing customer behaviour and expectations.

The BBPA response highlighted that both the 2009 and the 2014 increases in stakes and prizes, provided an uplift to pub sector machine revenues.

These revenues, the BBPA argues, are a valuable source of income for pubs, particularly at a time when they are facing the additional cost pressures of rises in both national living wages and the apprenticeship levy. 

BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds said: “The amusement machine offer in pubs needs to be able to develop to meet the expectations of the consumer and very much form part of low-stake, low-prize entertainment in a pub.  

“Operating costs for pubs are under pressure from recent increases in the national minimum and living wages, mandatory auto-enrolment pensions for employees, the apprenticeship levy and business rates. Income from amusement machines can be vitally important in keeping many pubs viable, and an increase in prize for category C machines will enable pubs to invest in the business and keep an important social resource viable.

“Any gaming machine use in pubs is overseen by the licensee and their team, and pubs represent, much as they do for drinking, a socially responsible environment. The BBPA already has a code of practice to ensure machines are operated responsibly and we’ll be updating this guidance in the near future.”

'A more attractive offer for customers'

The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) echoed the BBPA's calls for an increase in stakes to £2 and an increase in the maximum prize to £150. 

ALMR Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said: "Fruit machines represent a valuable source of income for many pubs and contribute to the unique atmosphere of pubs in the UK. Pubs are safe and supervised environments and customers can enjoy them with minimal risk. For some customers, fruit machines are integral to the pub-going experience and an enhanced offer in terms of stakes and prizes can ensure that remains the case.

"We are pushing for a more attractive offer for customers to ensure that fruit machines continue to play an important role for customers and continue to make their valuable financial contribution. Pubs are facing escalating property and wage costs combined with the ever-present challenge of very cheap off-licence alcohol. An energised and modernised fruit machine market can be an important revenue stream for businesses allowing them to invest and grow."

Related topics: Legislation

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