Happy New Year For 2020

Happy new year for 2020 from all at Comrie.

What a great way to start the new year, to find out that the nations favourite tipple is actually good for us. Well we at Comrie will certainly be raising a glass or two, to our good health and the health of our beloved pubs and clubs :)

Don’t worry, be hoppy.. why beer is good for you

It is research well worth raising a glass to – beer can be good for our health. Scientists have discovered that some beers are bursting with probiotic microbes – bacteria and yeast credited with a host of benefits, from combating obesity to getting a better night’s sleep.

Examples include Belgian beers Hoegaarden, Westmalle Tripel and Echt Kriekenbier, which are rich in probiotic yeast. Unlike most beers, these brands are fermented twice – once in the brewery and again in the bottle.

The second fermentation increases the strength of the beer and creates a sharper, drier taste. Importantly for health, the in-bottle fermentation uses a different strain of yeast to the traditional brewer’s yeast/ This yeast doesn’t just convert the sugar in the grain into alcohol, it also makes acids that are poisonous to bacteria that can make us ill.

Professor Eric Claassen, a gut bacteria expert from Amsterdam University said: “You are getting a stronger beer that is very, very healthy. We don’t want to give people a licence to drink more beer. In high concentrations alcohol is bad for the gut but if you drink just one of these beers every day it would be very good for you. “

Research from the University of Nebraska in the US found that some bottles of beer contain up to 50 million probiotic or ‘good’ bacteria. Once in our gut, probiotic bacteria kill rival ‘bad’ bacteria linked to illnesses including autism and bowel cancer.

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Don’t Lose Your Gaming Machine Permit!

Wetherspoons faces licence withdrawal

A JD Wetherspoon’s pub in Wanstead could be set to lose its gambling machine permit and automatic two machine entitlement after failing to prevent underage gambling in two separate police operations.

Redbridge Council licensing committee will meet on the 19th November to discuss whether The George Public House should be allowed to operate its seven machines, after a 15-year-old police cadet used them to gamble uninterrupted in January and July of this year.

Despite staff training being undertaken following both incidents, the council is now considering stripping the pub of its 2012 gaming licences altogether.

“JD Wetherspoon regrets the failure of the two test purchase exercises,” said Wetherspoon’s head of legal Nigel Connor, responding to the 10th July warning from the Council.

“We would of course be more than willing to meet representatives of the authority as an alternative to the enforcement action proposed, in order to show that the necessary measures are in place at the pub to avoid recurrence”.

This is quite simple to avoid and most local pubs do not have the footfall of a Wetherspoons pub so they should be able to keep an eye on their gaming machines. Ensure that your fruit machines are located with-in sight of the bar (the nearer the better). Also that all your staff have been told to approach anyone who looks under 21 who tries to play the machines to ensure they are old enough. If you would like more information on this please contact us at Comrie and we will send you more details of training for you and your staff. We supply pubs and clubs with fruit machines in Birmingham, Walsall, Dudley, Leicester, Northampton and Coventry and we can say nearly all the locations we deal with are on the ball with this issue, but it is best to refresh your staff to be safe.

 

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Gaming machines and ATM’S – can they be located near each other?

Gaming machines and ATMS  – can they be located near each other?

There is a code of practice for gaming machines in alcohol licensed premises which can be found on the Gambling Commission website.

There is a specific code provision that requires gaming machines to be located in a position where someone who wishes to take cash from an ATM must cease gambling in order to so. There is no specific rule regarding the distance that must be between the ATM and the gaming machine, but the further apart you can position them the better.

You will also need to be aware that it is also a requirement for gaming machines to be located in a place within the premises so that their use can be supervised, either by staff whose duties include such supervision – including bar or floor staff or by other means such as CCTV.

On another point and just as a reminder –  once you have obtained a permit, check how long it lasts for because you are usually required to renew a permit and the renewal can vary between councils. This is for when you have more than two machines, otherwise pubs have a right to two gaming machines on their premises.

If you would like more information about fruit machines and the permits/license’s required please contact Comrie on 02476 249070

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Protecting the Young..

Protecting the Young..

A lot of work has been done to protect the young and venerable from playing gaming machines and rightly so. Fruit machines have not been allowed in takeaways, cafes or chip shops or other similar places where children have access to.

Pubs and social clubs are required to have their gaming machines either within sight of the bar or monitored by CCTV and staff to ensure anyone underage on the premises do not play the machines. The age of which to play these machines is 18. (Eighteen years old).

We own and operate two adult gaming centre in Birmingham and Derby, where our customers come in solely to play the gaming machines. Therefore we have gained a lot of experience of what machines people like to play. In our amusement arcades, we decided many years ago to have a 21 year old minimum policy. It keeps all of our regular customers happy and also makes it easier for our staff to spot any underage customers, as we all know young lads these days are over 6ft with beards growing but are only 16 or 17!

It does then bewilder me that with all this hard work fruit machine companies are doing to stop underage gambling, then the Government let 16 and 17 year old walk into a shop and spend £1 and up to £10 on a single scratch card to gamble. From the stories we hear it does not stop at that.

Fruit machines do get some bad press but with all the regulation in place, gaming operators work hard to ensure underage gambling does not go on in their premises.  These days to gamble on a fruit machine you have to visit a place with a licensed bar. Like a pub, social club, bingo hall and casino, or a registered gambling venue like an adult gaming centre.

This brings me to the story behind this blog. Whilst visiting the “real” Father Christmas in Lapland, Finland in December (and Yes, I was on the good list), I was amazed to see rows of gaming machines in corner shops and supermarkets.

As you can see from the photos the machines are next to the fridges, as you pop in for a pint of milk or a bar of chocolate you can have a gamble!

It just goes to show, that whilst we are a very liberal gambling country, we also do plenty to ensure the young people do not play gaming machines.

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Pool Table Hire For Pubs and Clubs

At Comrie we know how important a good quality well kept pool table is for keeping customers in your pub or club drinking. Many places take extra revenue from the nights they have pool table teams playing. This in turn helps get repeat business from regulars to practice. We can supply you a pool table on hire for your pub or club but if you prefer we also do a revenue share deal with no cost, or as quite a few places do now you can buy your own table. We sell and install pool tables which will provide you with years of trouble free revenue. We even do a deal where you can trial one of our new digital machines and pay for the pool table from the income of that machine so you have no out lay!

5 “interesting facts you didn’t need to know about the Great Pool Table

1 – Until the 1920’s, billiards worldwide were heavily biased towards carom –the more traditional variety of the game. The game we know as pool was dying it was played by just a few old men. Well how times have changed. Now pool is played in social clubs, bars and pubs worldwide!

2 – The first female champion was a man – let’s just say that in the 1890s not many things were as politically correct as they are today. Pool was one of them – with women pool players getting a bit of a rough ride. Still there were some championships around, and the first one recorded one was won by a “lady” under the name of Frances Anderson. After going unbeaten for 25 years and winning plenty of wagers, she finally revealed her name was Orie – a man. Still that’s quite a dedication to a hustle!

3 – The cushions were just to stop the balls falling off  – the original “banks” on tables were installed to stop this problem, however it didn’t take crafty players long to work out that they could shoot balls off of them to hit different angles – hence we now have the “bank shot”!

4 – Play pool, go to hell – During the 1500s the Catholic Church actually denounced playing pool as sin (although what wasn’t back then?). In France the game was actually banned for a number of years. Many years later in the early history of the USA, pool was actually banned in a number of states. However, the great American tradition of the speak-easy included pool tables, of which Thomas Jefferson was a known illicit owner.

5 – Pool actually started outside – that’s right, all billiards games (bar billiards, snooker, carom and pool) are all descended from an outdoor game that resembled croquet – which was popular in France during 1400s. The game was so popular that during the long winters the game was transferred indoors as a table game – the traditional green felt represents the lawn. The word “billiard” comes from the French word for “mace”, as before the days of the pool cues the game was actually played with a wooden mace style instrument…

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Coffee Shops V Pubs

Coffee shops v Pubs – Frothy coffee v pint of beer

More than 2000 coffee shops have opened in Britain in just five years, with some towns now offering more places to get a frothy coffee than a pint of beer, according to a new report.

Between November 2013 and this month, 2158 coffee shops were opened by chain operators and independent owners, according to the new analysis by the retails intelligence firm, Local Data Company.

Meanwhile two pubs have shut for every new café that has opened in Britain in the same period. It seems the cup of coffee has become a cultural icon. People want a place they can go to, between work and home. For many of us, this is now the coffee shop.

It appears that it now socially acceptable to spend a significant part of the day in the coffee shop rather than the pub. You can sit down for a few hours with a group of friends or you can sit alone and get some reading or studying done. These days if you are caught drinking a beer by yourself at 2pm it is not as acceptable as a flat white.

The spread of increased numbers of coffee shops can be seen up and down the country and is unlikely to slow down. Experts predict the number of coffee shops will overtake pubs by 2030.

The Research and Policy Director at the charity Alcohol Change UK, said the rise in the coffee shop represented a cultural shift, with a decline in alcohol consumption among young people. The British Beer & Pub Association said its members were adapting, increasingly offering low-alcohol and alcohol free drinks.

So, it seems to be all change, the premium price that can be charged for espresso based coffee is key, as it can generate enough revenue to provide comfortable spaces that have proved so popular for socialising and work meetings. This just highlights to me a opening for pubs to offer quality coffee throughout the day to aim at these potential customers. Especially for people who are driving.

The one thing coffee shops can not offer is gaming machines (due to the law) and even pool tables or other amusement machines, more down to room. We are always saying it at Comrie – so many pubs and clubs do not have the latest machines on their premises, this means they are missing out on a lot of revenue. We have seen the revenue of our machines go up significantly due to the changes of the bookmakers machines, so don’t miss out. If you would like the latest digital fruit machines in your pub or club call us at Comrie today.

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Cash in on the Poker Craze at Your Pub

Poker is arguably the most popular card game in the world today on both land based casinos and virtual online casinos alike. The learning curve isn’t steep and there is a skill element involved in the equation so it is not a game based purely on luck. Poker has been around for a good 200 odd years, but there are some poker facts which may still blow your mind and give you a little something to think about.

FACT #1: Poker originated from the USA

If the name Texas Hold em’ hadn’t already given it away, we are here to tell you that the birth place of poker was America, specifically, New Orleans. New Orleans also happens to be the birth place of Jazz music and cocktails. It is not possible to trace down the exact location of where the first hand of poker was played, but historians confirm that the game was drafted and developed in the Louisiana area.

FACT #2: The early versions of Poker was played with just 20 cards

The poker we have come to know and adore today is played with a full deck of 52 cards. However, in its early days, poker could be played with just a deck of twenty cards and four players.

The game back then was a little less convoluted, the four players were each dealt five cards and the betting would begin on who had the best hand. Historians say the 52 deck card was first integrated as a whole into game from the year 1834 onwards.

FACT #3: A game of Poker once lasted nearly eight and a half years

The Bird Cage Theatre in Arizona claims to have been home to the longest ever poker game that ever ensued. The game supposedly began in 1881 and lasted a staggering eight years, five months and three days. According to the Bird Cage Theatre the players were all well-known wild wild west kind of personalities and the minimum buy in was $1000.

FACT #4: Poker chips and how they came to be

During its infancy, poker was played for gold nuggets, gold coins and even gold dust. It was hard to standardize units due to this and the need for a standard unit soon became apparent. This is when gaming houses and Saloons came up with poker chips. Poker chips used to be made of ivory, bone, clay and wood. The Poker chips used to have designs on it to depict its value. The coins could be exchanged for real money right at the gaming house pretty much just like how it works in casinos nowadays.

FACT #5: The first poker tournament broadcast

It is not uncommon for poker tournaments to be televised all over the globe today, but it was in 1973 that a poker tournament was, for the very first time, televised. The tournament was the world series of Poker which was occurring in Las Vegas.

FACT #6: Poker is the most lucrative sport in the world

We all know how much footballers, NBA players and golfers can make, but what is not as well known is that if you look at the top five biggest prizes awarded in super high roller tournaments the sum of these awards totals up to $44,202,738 which makes poker the most lucrative game in the world by a good margin.

FACT #7: UK poker in the Guinness Book

The largest game of poker to have taken place was in Onchan, Isle of Man. There were 225,000 grinders vying for the top $25,000 in June 2013. The tournament hosted by PokerStars had a $1 buy-in.

FACT #8: The evolution of poker

Poker is believed to have evolved from Dominoes and ranked card combinations. It was back in 969 A.D. that Emperor Mu-Tsung is said to have played domino cards with his wife. What’s more interesting is that bluffing was integral to that game and so it is today.

FACT #9: Food for thought

  • Over 300 million 7 card poker hand combinations exist.
  • The best poker player will not have more than a 5% edge against another good player.
  • The way pro-poker players stack their chips is usually a technique used to fool their opponents.
  • Leaning forward or backward is an indication of a strong hand.
  • Bluffers use the ‘eye to eye’ aka staring technique to get you down.
  • Superstitious poker players gamble in dirty clothes. A sure fire way to success, say some of the legends.

Poker has come a long way from being played with 20 cards for gold dust to where people can play for fun on Facebook or play for real in high roller, lustrous tournaments. Has the game stopped evolving? What will poker be like in the future? We can only ponder!

At Comrie we offer the latest digital poker machine at no cost for your pub or social club. If you would like a free trial of this latest machine please give us a call to chat.

 

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The End Is Nigh…

End of free cash machines looms as contactless payments are on the up

Free cash machines could become a thing of the past, according to the consumer group – Which?, after it emerged that 1,700 ATMs were switched to charging in the first three months of this year alone.

Most of the ATMs affected are operated by Cardtronics, the UK’s biggest cashpoint operator, and the firm said it was poised to convert a further 1000.

Another major provider, NoteMachine, is also considering converting up to 4,000 of it’s 7,000 machines to fee. The company stated “we have always operated a free to use model wherever possible. However, unless urgent action is taken to reduce the pressure on ATM operators by reversing the interchange fee reductions, NoteMachine will be forced to begin converting ATMs to surcharging.”

The surge in fees comes as consumers switch to contactless payments for small purchases. There are currently about 52,000 free to use cash machines in the UK, BUT Which? warned this could fall by more than 10% in the coming months. Fees are at least 95p per withdrawal at the converted ATMs Which? has seen, and nearly a quarter of the machines charge £1.50 to £1.99.

Which? said that without regulatory action, the UK risked drifting into a no cash society that could shut some people out of paying for local good and services.

Digital gaming machines and fruit machines in pubs and clubs are suffering due to the lack of cash in peoples pockets as they use their card for contactless payments more and more. There definitely needs to be a change made so all machines can accept payment by debit card and keep with modern day payment methods. While there is talk about this happening, the UK is getting near and near to being a cashless society.

The UK is the 5th closet country to being cashless with Sweden leading the way (99 % cashless). With the country’s cash points disappearing we are being forced in to this situation and yet many industries are not ready.

 

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Another Tax For Pubs and Clubs!!!

HIGHER ROYALTIES FOR PLAYING RECORDED MUSIC

The British music industry body that collects royalty payments is planning to more than double fees paid by pubs, bars and nightclubs to play recorded music. From July the fees will start to rise and by 2023 venues hosting DJ events – also to include cafes, restaurants and hotels will pay 9p per person per hour, as opposed to an average of 3.9p today.

The money is collected by Phonographic Performance (PPL) and distributed to artist and record companies whose music is being played. The changes will not affect venues that only use music in the background.

PPL have stated that the current tariff has been in place for around 30 years and PPL’s view, supported by economic analysis, is that the fees are too low to be an appropriate reflection of the value to the businesses of using recorded music.

The fees paid will be in proportion to the number of people at the venue, – to ensure events with different audiences are treated fairly – advised PPL. Smaller venues may have to pay less than they do no.

The has nevertheless been opposition from the industry. It was report that some venue will undoubtedly be pushed over the edge by this increase. Which in turn could lead to job losses at venue, and limit opportunities for up and coming musicians. A spokesperson of UK Hospitality which represents 700 companies, estimates the increase in costs to the industry at £49m. They added the changes would wring the last life our of venues. Village pubs that host weekly discos will be strangled.

In return to this comment, a spokesperson of PPL, said the changes were on behalf of more than 100,000 artists and record companies. They include session musicians, orchestral players, self-releasing artists and small independent record companies. They added that they did not recognise the £49m figure cited by UK Hospitality.

It is not as if Lady GaGa or Slim Shady are short of a few pound coins, this just feels like another kick to the groin for local pubs and clubs. Another cost/tax before they even open up their doors. Pubs and clubs as I keep saying are part of the back bone of the UK and bring community’s together in a day when no one seems to know their next door neighbor!

Looking forward if you would like to make sure your music is paying and not costing you money, then please contact us about our latest online digital jukeboxes for pubs and clubs at no cost to you.

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Illegal siting of gaming machines

Illegal siting of gaming machines

This is an issue we get phone calls about regularly asking if we can have machines in our kebab shop or is a fruit machine allowed in a certain location which is not visible.  If you have any concerns about the machine you currently have please feel free to contact us at Comrie as we have over 50 years experience dealing with fruit machines in pubs and clubs.

You cannot just site a gaming machine anywhere, there are rules and regulations that have to be adhered to.

You cannot site gaming machines in takeaways, cafes, food shops, minicab and taxi offices, non-arcade and other unlicensed premises.

Anyone allowing gaming machines to be used on these premises may be prosecuted under the Gambling Act 2005 with a maximum fine of £5,000 and/or 51 weeks imprisonment (six months in Scotland).

In order to site gaming machines on allowable premises, some form of premises-based authorisation is required from your local authority. In addition to this an operating licence from the Gambling Commission may also be required.

There are three types of premises-based permission;

  • A gambling premises licence from a licensing authority (typically for an adult gaming centre, for bingo, betting)
  • An alcohol premises licence from a licensed authority (typically for a pub, restaurant, club)
  • A gaming machine permit from a licensing authority (typically for clubs)

There is an exemption with genuine skill with prizes machines (SWPs). This type of machine can be sited with any permissions. SWPs must not have any mechanism that determines the outcome of the game, such as a compensator or other mechanism that makes the outcome dependant on chance. A game that contains an element of change (unless it is so slight that it can reasonably be disregarded) is a gaming machine.

There are no statutory limit in place regulating stakes and prizes for SWPs. However, SWPs offering a maximum prize greater than 350 are unlikely to be commercially viable and are therefore more likely to be gaming machines. It is important to assure yourself that any such machine is not a gaming machine prior to siting it in your premises.

In the past machines have been markets as a SWP machines offering games designed to look like recognised games of chance 9such as roulette, bingo or poker). Such machines are gaming machines and cannot be sited as SWPs.

To ensure that you stay within the law, if you are approached to site a gaming machine that you obtain the machine supplier’s full contact details and the supplier’s Gambling Commission operating licence number.

You should always be vigilant, ensuring that when you are approached to site a machine being marketed as a SWP machine, that you are satisfied that the machine is a genuine SWP and is not a gaming machine.

Further details are always available at:

www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk

 

 

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