At Comrie we like to be abreast of all the latest developments in our industry and to have our say on how we would like things to change for the future. With this in mind we are members of BACTA (British Amusement & Catering Trade Association). While the catering part of the association is only by name now, BACTA are instrumental in taking with the Gambling commission and different sections of the government to ensure that the industry is changing for the better for not only their members but the playing public as well.
This year’s BACTA Convention attracted a record attendance with more than 240 members. Our very own Company Director, Cheryl Greig, was one of the members that attended the Convention on 24th November at the QE11 Conference Centre in Westminster London.
BACTA has already unveiled its wish list for triennial, which the Chief Executive of BACTA, John White claims is a “modest” package of changes. There is also a request to a reduction in MGD (Machine Games Duty) and for SWP’s (Skill With Prizes/Quiz Machines) to be removed from MGD altogether. Only John White could pull off the feat of asking the Commission to stop “talking down” to BACTA members without sounding in any way offensive! “On a one to one basis I have had nothing but grown up and sensible discussions with the Commission, but the head masterly tone of the Commission’s communications remain” he said.
To conclude, this year’s Convention showed the association to be more vibrant than in many years. While undoubtedly triennial and a feeling of traction on B2’s played a large part, praise must go to the association for minimizing in –fighting, repairing damaged relationships with regulatory bodies and bringing extra value to the members. John White ended by saying “Membership is at a 10 year high, despite all the mergers, we must be doing something right. Given all the benefits of membership, it really is a no-brainer.
The triennial review is where the government decide if there will be any changes to gaming machines stakes and prizes (cost to play/Jackpots) which we do hope will be changed to offer a higher jackpot to our pub going customers. Also they will hopefully finally decide to lower the stakes and may be the jackpots of the machines in bookmakers who have been taking many pub customers due to their unfair advantage in the type of machines that they are allowed. While we do offer roulette machines to pubs they are of a different technical standards and lower stakes and prizes.
Cheryl Greig with BACTA’s head of compliance Phil Silver at this years BACTA convention.