Pub Numbers Fall


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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Are you Hitting The Town Tonight?


Here’s how to drink beer tonight without getting drunk!!


Ah, the dream. Beer is tasty, but hangovers… not so much.


Joch Koch is pretty much the beer messiah. He founded and chairs the Boston Beer Company and contributed to the design of the perfect pint glass.

Which, apparently, is this:

He loves beer more than any one should, but how does he drink it every day without getting drunk? He recently revealed his secret weapon to Esquire magazine, which is simply a teaspoon of active yeast for every pint he plans to drink, mixing it with yoghurt so it’s not gross.


But what does that do?

Dry active yeast has an enzyme in it called alcohol dehydrogenases (ADH). This enzyme has the ability to break down alcohol their constituent parts of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, which is basically what happens when it gets to your liver. By having the yeast already in your stomach, it starts breaking down before it gets to the blood stream.



Koch warns however, that you won’t be getting away scot free, saying that the trick “will mitigate, not eliminate, but mitigate the effects of alcohol”.

We are not sure at Comrie Automatics if this works but anything to help that cloudy head feeling after a few beers sounds good! Or you could just do the more traditional approach and head down to your local greasy spoon for a full fry up!!!!


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Pub Closures, Lets Stop The Rot……

Pub Closures. Let’s Stop The Rot……

According to the campaign for real ale (CAMRA) the pub sector has seen over three hundred closures already this year, at a rate of 18 closing their doors every week.

These are alarming figures that industry observers are predicting could climb to 1000 closures by the end of 2013!

While industry experts are saying it is a direct result of the Treasury’s beer duty escalator, this is one of many daily fights publicans are having to battle against. No help from our “local friendly banks” and a lack of support from the breweries just to mention a couple.

A way we can help you at Comrie Automatics is doing a FREE no commitment survey of your Gaming & Amusement equipment. There are so many things that can be tweaked to give a good up lift in machine income which helps public houses and social clubs profits in a BIG way.

Just some of the things we check are;

  • your costings for hire
  • level of equipment
  • location of machines
  • machines fully serviced ie, all bulbs working (as this puts players off)
  • pool cloth in good condition
  • type of jackpot prize and price of play, of equipment
  • how often is equipment changed to give fresh appeal
  • marketing material around the site to promote different machines to customers
  • Juke box sound zoned well and smokers catered for

 This is just a small list of our extensive evaluation we do for free and then go over with you.

If you are a tied public house, have you checked your contract as some pub companies only tie publicans into gaming products, ie, fruit machines, allowing you to earn extra revenue from a Jukebox, Pool table or Quiz machine.

We have also found that pubs that are fully tied have been allowed under their agreement, to own their own equipment. We have then sold a publican normally a Pool table and in some cases Jukeboxes so they can profit far more legally outside their pub tie.

If you are interested in a FREE visit to your pub or club and going over our extensive check list with no obligation or would like to talk about Fruit machine hire or Jukebox rental please give us a call, as we would like to help stop the rot and preserve our Great British Pub.

You don’t have to use us as your supplier we are here to help.

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MGD News for Pubs and Clubs

Latest MGD News……..

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) officials will take a “sympathetic approach” to pubs that have not yet registered for the new machine games duty (MGD).

As of 28th February 2013, HMRC had received 23,624 registration applications from pubs and clubs which amount to 60% of the estimated venues. HMRC have advised it is  planning a programme of educational and compliance activity, including visits to encourage pubs that have not yet registered to do so. It expects that these will be smaller pub businesses that many not understand their obligations under this new tax.

You need to register for MGD if you hire a fruit machine on a fixed rental or if you have a fruit machine on a revenue share deal as the responsibility to register is with the license holder of the premises. 

From 1st February 2013, anyone providing gaming machines for play from their premises not covered by a MGD registration may have to pay a penalty for failing to register. Licensees can be charged a penalty of between 30% and 100% of any unpaid tax. However, HMRC have said that it will take a sympathetic approach to penalties in the early days of the new tax.

If a business was not registered as at 1st February 2013 but it is before 1st April 2013, HMRC might not issue a penalty provided that proper MGD records are kept for the period before the business was registered.

Further information can be found at



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Understanding the Law is simple…let me explain. To start, Commercial betting in pubs is illegal. Both the bookie and the licensee will be committing an offence if the bookie takes bets from punters. The bookie risks their licence, a fine or imprisonment. The licensee or designated premises supervisor (DPS) risks prosecution if they allow premises to be used to provide facilities for betting.

There are also circumstances where the pub may act as an illegal betting intermediary. If either the DPS or a member of staff collects betting slips and delivers them to the betting shop on behalf of customers, or accepts stakes on behalf of bookmakers, they would be committing an offence. In addition, it is also illegal for an agent of a bookmaker to take bets in a pub or the licensee to ring through customer bets on his or her own account with a bookmaker.

The Gambling Commission reported that during the Cheltenham Festival, evidence of commercial betting was found in premises in Hertfordshire, York and Hull and there were a number of prosecutions where not only were the bookmakers convicted and fined but the pub landlords too, after allowing premises to be used to provide facilities for betting.

The Commission has issued formal warnings to a number of licensed bookmakers for accepting bets in pubs and many places have been warned about betting activity by the commission and the local authorities. In most cases a warning is likely. If, however, the activity is significant or continues following a warning, a prosecution may follow. This could lead up to 51 weeks’ imprisonment in England and Wales, or 6 months in Scotland and/or fine of up to £5,000 for each offence.

And finally, what is allowed? Customers can place bets via their mobiles or laptops but they can only do so on their own account. You can have betting slips in pubs but customers should complete the slips and take them to the betting shop themselves. You can run a sweep stake or free competition. You can also run a charity event.

There are bookmakers suggesting that you could use an occasional use notice (OUN). These permit tracks and sporting venues to allow bookies on to premises to take bets. They have been used in pubs but this concerned the Gambling Commission and local authorities. There are risks. The commission has said a sporting event that is televised at a premises does not constitute a sporting event taking place and an OUN may not be obtained on that basis. If you are approached with regards to obtaining an OUN I suggest you seek legal advice.

To talk about fruit machine hire or jukebox rental and any licences required for these machines please call us at Comrie Automatics and we will be more than happy to answer any of your questions.

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Promote your pub with camra

CAMRA – Campaign for Real Ale

 Are you what CAMRA is looking for?

CAMRA is looking for examples of those publicans, who have expanded their businesses to make them more successful! These examples will help the organisation with its Community Pubs Month media work.

Community Pubs Month will run in April and already 6,000 pubs have already been sent free promo packs. The aim is to get pubs to organise events throughout April and use this national campaign to try a variety of different marketing activities to help increase trade.

The idea behind CAMRA’s pub campaigning in 2013 is to encourage more people to visit the pub on a more regular basis. CAMRA are hoping to run stories to show the way pubs are now expanding their business to make a living.

CAMRA have commentated that they would like to gather a number of case studies from across Britain to raise the awareness of how pubs are expanding. Pubs are trying to find different easy of attracting more trade. Some research already compiled includes some real wacky ideas such as publicans incorporating hairdressers, delicatessens and libraries into their pubs.

If you have expanded your business and would like to be considered for CAMRA’s media work in March and April please email with a few words on what you have done.

To sign up for your free Community Pubs Month promotional pack, take a look at

This is a great way to help promote your pub or club, we at comrie automatics have sent in some information of pubs that we deal with who have turned around a failing pub to make it part of the community again. We have also helped these pubs increase there fruit machine and jukebox profits substantially.

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Promote and Profit from a Football Table


We see less & less pubs and clubs having Table Football as part of their machine mix today. Table Football also known as Foosball or Bar Football has been a popular game in Pub, Clubs and Bars since the 1970’s.

In some locations the table lies unloved in a dark corner of the venue and not promoted, but where we are having big success is in pubs, clubs and bars who actively push the football table with competitions and promotions. With up to 4 people playing the table it can be a great value game for the players and full of excitement.

The British Foosball Association has developed a free online advice pack which is available on the BFA’s official website

This has been produced to enable venues and operators to get the most out of their Football Tables, including basic maintenance tips, promotional events and there are already regular players, forming a club and competing against other clubs in the area.

This is another way to get your players and away fans into the pub or club on those quieter nights and don’t forget they all need to practice! We hire Football Tables all over the Midlands and sell them UK wide so have a chat with us about a new or reconditioned Football Table for your bar today.

We also hire football tables for the night for different events and parties with a price to deliver, install then remove the table from £250.00. Give us a call to talk about your event and to confirm prices.

Our football tables are available to hire at no cost on our revenue share deal, so this is a great way to trial a football in your pub or club!

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Today is the MGD deadline!

Have you missed the MGD deadline?

Today, the 11th of January is the cut off date for HMRC to process all applications for the new MGD (machine games duty) in time for the start date of this new tax. If you have not registered yet we would suggest you do it immediately as HMRC has said if any premises providing machines for play that are liable for MGD are not registered by or sent in by today there will be penilaties. Our advice is better to register late than never, so you if you have not yet registered please go to our previous blogs about MGD to find the link to HMRC’s web page to register.MGD is a tax for all fruit machines and also other type of machines like quiz machines. Good luck and if you do get confused we are at the end of the phone to help if needed.

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CostCo Business of The Month


Comrie director Cheryl at CostCo for Business of the month


We are very pleased to be associated with Costco and their stores based around the Midlands area.

We have been supplying Costco with pool tables for their employees break area for a while now and they have proved very popular.

We are also members of Costco Coventry and can be seen with a trolley full their produce for our business and personal events. But we are really excited to say that when we went along to one of their open days with lots of free tasters of wine and beverages we found out that Comrie Automatics was their “Business of the Month”….yipeee.

Here we have a picture of one of our directors Cheryl Greig alongside our business of the month at Costco.

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Fruit Machine Laws on Jackpots in Pubs and Clubs


Fruit machine jackpots vary depending on your premises; first we will look at a public house. In any pub the largest Jackpot machine allowed is a category C fruit machine which offers a maximum £70 cash jackpot with a maximum stake (price to play) of £1 a go. This is as of the date this blog was posted. The reason I say this, is that every 3 years the government look at reviewing the laws & regulations of jackpots allowed under a triennial review of stakes and prizes for gambling machines. The industry is pushing for a £100 jackpot prize to be passed. We will have to wait and see if this is passed and it will take some time as of yet.  So the maximum at present is a £70 cash jackpot on any fruit machine in public houses and bars.  As soon as this changes, we will update you on this blog.

Social Clubs are different as they are member only venues except for the guest that sign in. Social Clubs, and Working Mens Clubs are allowed bigger jackpots up to a maximum of three £250 cash jackpots on a fruit machine. There is one type of machine now approved in clubs called a B3a machine which are housed in a fruit machine style cabinet which can give a jackpot of £500 in cash, their HMRC classification is also called a B3a machine and each members club are allowed one of these machines.

I do hope we have cleared this up for you but if you do have any questions please feel free to call us for a chat and we will give you any advice about fruit machines and the laws, regulations etc…FREE. We cover the whole of the Midlands area but will give advice to anyone in the UK who has any queries or just wants something cleared up.

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