Pub insolvencies reach four year high!

Pub insolvencies reach four year high!

The number of UK pubs closing their doors due to insolvency hit 530 for the 12-month period up to 30th September 2019, a 13% increase on the prior year total, and the highest bankruptcy figure since 2015. Sterling weaknesses since the Brexit referendum have seen costs of imported alcohol rise, with a decline in young drinkers hitting pub profits.

I came across this article while doing some planning for Comrie during lockdown. What concerns me most is this is before Covid19 and what pubs and social clubs are having to go through at this present time. Yes there have been thousands of deaths and many more people ill, but when we eventually get out of lockdown who knows how the pub and club landscape is going to look. Then there are all the many hundreds businesses that feed off pubs and clubs.

The government have helped with grants, the furloughed scheme and bounce back loans but I do think that the leisure industry and especially the public houses and social clubs need extra help from the government. This is because Boris announced weeks before lockdown to stay away from pubs and clubs then add in the fact that these venues will be the last to open and with strict restrictions in place! Also the demographics of your typical social club customer are 60 plus which will make them less likely to go to their local until they know things are 100% safe.

None of us have a crystal ball but my betting is a lot of the pubs and clubs that were just getting by will not be opening there doors again, which will push up the numbers even higher from my original article that I found at the top of this blog post. Add to the fact how important these places are to the local community and this is not good news for the UK as a whole.

We at Comrie will be doing our best to help and work with the pubs and clubs that we supply fruit machines, jukeboxes and pool tables to. Some of our customers have been with us for 50 years and counting which is testament to our working arrangement but also they become more than just customers! Here’s to raising a glass of beer in one of our regular pubs and clubs in the not to distant future and hopefully celebrating the fact that Big Boris has done more the help this struggling sector…….

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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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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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UK Summer Holidays

Summer holiday season in over which is good for local pubs around Coventry and the surrounding areas that we supply, as they have had a quiet summer since the world cup has ended.

Saying that lots of holiday spots around the UK will be happy with the excellent sunny summer we have had. We decided to take another staycation this year and headed up to the North East coast and toured around. We have some beautiful spots around the UK that are truly hidden gems.

One of these hidden gems is Robin Hood Bay, which is a small fishing village near the North Yorkshire Moors National Park. It is really picturesque. Another place we stayed at on our tour was Filey which is no longer a fishing village but has become a tourist attraction due to its large beach and great setting.

Of course no UK holiday would be complete without a trip to the seaside amusement arcades. This was the part that our daughter Macy loved the most and I think myself and Cheryl became pusher machine experts during this holiday. However we were definitely out done on the dance machine video game by Macy!

The arcades in Scarborough and Whitby were really busy and it was great seeing so many people enjoying family fun times playing amusement and gaming machines in the amusements arcades and making great memories.

Whilst we don’t supply pusher machines and video games, at Comrie we do supply pubs and clubs with fruit machines and pool tables which were all busy at all the amusements we went in.

And, no seaside trip is complete without tasting the local caught sea food.

We enjoyed the trip so much, we have said that each year we are going to visit a different seaside town in the UK which will also help or local economy, win win for us all :)

 

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Who Let The dogs Out…..

Sit ….and behave

What is your dog policy in your pub or club? With so many blown up media stories about dog attacks, it seems that the public are becoming more fearful of man’s best friend.

Whilst I admit,  I do wince myself when I see a young lad walking down the street with is baseball cap on, plastic bling hanging round his neck with his Staffordshire Bull Terrier on a thin lead that would not hold a gerbil. But what we have to remember is most dogs, in fact 99.9% are friendly and well behaved.

We spoke to a few Midland clubs about this and some do not let dogs in (except guide dogs) and others only let dogs into the bar area and not the lounge. One club even operate a curfew where dogs are allowed in the bar area up until 6pm and had to be kept on a lead all the time. This seemed a good solid policy so everyone knew where they stood.

Paws for thought…. if we don’t have a policy this is when things seem to escalate, as running a pub or club you well know!

I will leave you with a few dog quotes..

‘Chasing your tale gets you know where…except back where you started’

‘If you want the best seat in the house…move the dog!’

‘One dog barks at something, the rest bark at him’ – Chinese Proverb

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The Latest Digital Fruit Machines

THE LATEST DIGITAL FRUIT MACHINES

It’s that time again where we ventured down to the XL Conventions Centre in London for our annual trade exhibition. This year, like the last couple of years was very exciting as there were lots of new machines coming to the market.

There were the latest Digital Jukeboxes with App’s to pay and play through your mobile phone, which are never out of our hands these days!

It was the latest Digital Gaming fruit machines that we paid particular interest to as this is where we are seeing a big uplift in takings, with new digital games being released with amazing graphics and popular games that customers will recognise from playing on line or in the Bookmakers.

If you are looking for a new digital fruit machine in your pub or social club then please give Comrie a call as we have been investing in the latest machines to ensure you get the best cash box takings.

Whilst we were at the exhibition we also had a little fun playing the latest VR (Virtual Reality) video games which were amazing and so realistic, even if we did look a bit silly jumping about!

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Mark Greig playing the latest Virtual Reality video games and a picture of some new digital fruit machines that Comrie has invested in.

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Wow – A steak dinner instead of £33m Jackpot!

Wow – A steak dinner instead of £33m Jackpot!

A woman has reportedly taken legal action against a casino that claimed a fruit machine displaying a £33.65 jackpot was faulty – offering her a steak dinner instead.

The woman took a selfie with the Fruit machine telling her it was “printing cash tickets of $42,949,672.76 as she celebrated her almighty jackpot!!

But, a worker at the Resorts World Casino in New York City, was quick to tell her that she had not won and it was claimed the casino escorted her from the premises.

The machine displayed a disclaimer, saying – “Malfunctions void all pays and plays”.

The lawyer representing the woman filed a lawsuit, labelling the claims ‘ridiculous’ and questioned if the casino was liable for poor maintenance.

They were seeking the jackpot total in damages.

The lawyer continued – “You can’t claim a machine is broken because you want it to be broken. Does that mean it wasn’t inspected? Does it mean it wasn’t maintained? “If this is the case, does that mean the people that played there before have zero chance of winning?”

It was reported the cash jackpot would have been the largest ever won on a gaming machine in the USA.

The incident took place last year and the casino claimed at the time staff and the New York State Gaming Commission had later found the machine had malfunctioned!!!

While in the UK we do not have million pound jackpot machines, it is very important to not only have the latest fruit machines in your pub or club but to ensure they are regularly serviced and maintained. We are coming across many machines in midlands pubs and clubs that are not new £1 ready, have many bulbs not working so the customers can not see the feature that is lit up and this is only looking from the outside.

At Comrie we do regular maintenance on all our gaming and amusement machines to try and avoid the machine going faulty on a player. As this can cause a loss of income and a frustrated  customer especially if this happens on a busy Friday or Saturday night. If you are looking for the latest fruit machines that are maintained regularly give Comrie a call today on 02476 249070

 

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The Turnaround Team GB

How amazing is it that Great Britain is flying high in the medals at Rio 2016 Olympic Games!

Seeing our athletes romp home for medal after medal seems to really be getting the UK buzzing. It could even be our most successful Olympics ever, who would ever have thought we could have topped London 2012 Olympics.

The talk is that after a disastrous Atlanta Olympics in 1986 when we managed only 1 gold medal (Steve Redgrave), more money was pumped into UK sports and after 15 years later, it has all paid dividend.

Question – is it possible to turn the pub industry around? After so many closures and pubs keep changing hands due to the lack of profit?

Well finally the lifting of the machine tie is huge and pubs who were tied in to using Brewery nominated supplies at their expense can be set free and finally make a decent profit from their machines.

We have regularly spoken to landlords and landlady’s who would have loved to use a local independent machine supplier, who they would get to know and trust not to mention make a decent profit.

One time we saw a collection invoice of a national machine supplier, (you know the ones that are 3 foot long and no one can understand). The machine had taken £290 but after tax, brewery’s take and machine rent the publican was left with 99p! Unbelievable!

To find out more about making the change of fruit machine supplier and to start turning around this great industry just like Team GB have done in the Olympics give Comrie a call today.

Here is one of the Comrie team, Mark Greig with Sir Chris Hoy who until Sir Bradley Wiggins won more gold medals was our greatest winning Olympian.

 

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This Time Next Year Rodney…

THIS TIME NEXT YEAR RODNEY…

Every January we venture down to London for our industries Annual Exhibition where all the manufacturers and distributors show what is new in the industry.

It is a vibrant and energetic show and this year was no different, with a great mix of International major manufacturers to small independent companies show their latest machine for the UK market.

It is also a great chance for us to look at and try any new machines and talk first hand to the games designers and sales teams.

This year was a particularly good show as we came away with a brand new machine for public houses which has proven track record in the USA and has been adapted to the UK market.

Another new product we purchased to trial in a couple of pubs, is NSM’s latest video jukebox. We will be connecting to other TV’s around the pubs premises to not only show the video when playing but also show pre-set adverts from the pub when the jukebox is not in use.  The video jukebox with screens around the pub will create a great atmosphere and according to NSM will increase cashbox takings by over 30%. If you would like one of these latest digital jukeboxes for your pub, please contact us at Comrie.

To top off the show, we bumped into one of the legends from Only Fools and Horses, Denzil, whose real name is Paul Barber, but that doesn’t sound right. He was a great guy who happily posed for photos and he has also got the rights to produce an Only Fools and Horses pusher machine which will be at seaside arcades soon.

 

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Denzil with Mark & Cheryl Greig. Only Fools and Horses is the most watched Programme on UK TV.

Watch this space for our NEW machine from the show and who knows Rodney, this time next year we will be millionaires!

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Pub Numbers Fall

DRINK-LED PUB NUMBERS FALLING V FOOD-LED PUBS NUMBER ON THE INCREASE

The number of pubs and bars in the UK fell by 2.6% during the year with pubs serving predominantly drinks bearing the brunt of the closures.  Closures included a fall in community pub numbers, reflecting the continuing shift to food and consumer eating out occasions.

It has been reported recently that there are now more restaurants with licences in Great Britain than drink-led community locals.

Branded food pubs saw a growth of 9% in numbers with urban areas being the main focus for the new growth. Food-led sites, including restaurants and pubs increasing 5.9% while the number of drink-led businesses remained largely static.

Whilst this seems disappointing that the traditional drink-led local is in decline, this has led to a new lease of life for many pubs in suburban and rural areas as the “local” embracing the “move to food”.

Times are changing in many areas of business and it seems that even the trusted local is moving with the times. Hopefully you will still be visiting your local for some time to come, but now you may also be able to have a meal with your tipple rather than just a packet of crisps.

 

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