Outrageous Taxes on Pubs and Clubs

Weatherspoon, its customers, and employees have paid £6.1 billion of tax to the government in the last 10 years!

In Wetherspoon’s 2019 financial year, before COVID 19, it generates £764.4 million in tax – about £1 in every £1000 of all UK government taxes. The average tax generated per pub in 2019 was £871,000.

In the financial year ended July 2020, when pubs were closed for a long period, and the company made a substantial loss, £436.7 million of taxes were generated, net of furlough payments.

Of the company’s financial years 2011-20 the taxes amounted to about 42% of every £1 which went “over the bar” net of VAT – about 11 times the company’s profit.

Ben Whitely, Weatherspoon’s Finance Direct said “pub companies pay enormous amounts of tax, but that is not always well understood by the companies themselves since most taxes are hidden in a financial fog.

This data highlights the amount of tax which the company , its customers and employees have generated, highlighting the importance if the hospitality sector to the nation’s finances.

Weatherspoon understand the need for taxes, yet, like the hospitality industry generally, believes that there should be tax equality among supermarkets, pubs, restaurants and similar businesses.

Until recently, supermarkets have paid zero VAT on food sales, whereas pubs, restaurants, and hotels, for example, have paid 20%.

The chancellor, Rishi Sunak, announced a temporary reduction last summer to 5% VAT for pub and restaurant food sales, but the government intends to revert to 20% this year.

Pubs also pay about 20p a pint in business rates, whereas supermarkets pay only about 2p.

It does seem wrong that dinner parties in Chelsea, for example, pay zero VAT for food bought from supermarkets, when pub customers normally pay 20% VAT for fish and chips.

Weatherspoon’s, concluded “Equality and fairness are important principles of efficient tax regimes, and we urge the government to introduce equality in this area – sensible tax policies will increase investment and government revenues.”

While I am not a massive Weatherspoon’s pub fan, preferring a independent local pub whenever going for a pint. they really are making a good piont of not only the amount of taxes a pub contributes to the governments coffers. Also the unlevel playing field with supermarkets, in comparison to the duty levels. Add to the fact many of the supermarkets got business rates relief during Covid while they were trading their socks off! A few did repay this money but others pocketed the money along with massive profits!!!

Comrie have heard complaints along the lines above from the many pubs and social clubs we hire our fruit machines to and have to agree this needs to be addressed.

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Surprise! Surprise! Bookies Get The Nod….

Surprise! Surprise! Licensed Betting Office   ……. Getting preferential treatment?

The not unexpected news to allow high street Licensed Betting Office (LBOs) to trade from April and to kick the interests of the Adult Gaming Centre (AGC) sector down the road – again! Left me with a mix of anger and resignation. Anger because no one in The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) seems to have listened to or noticed what we have done as a sector and resignation because that’s the way it is.

For the benefit of our friends at DCMS let’s take the opportunity to set out the facts. LBO’s like AGCs operate on the high street. Both have small footfalls, neither sell alcohol, they share some customers and provide similar gaming machines with the same number of hard surfaces.

LBOs and AGCs have implemented strict cleaning protocols, under pinned by social distancing clear signage.

Unlike LBOs where staff are often seated behind AGC staff walk the floor, direct customers, police the regulations and clean machines thoroughly before and after each customer has played them. Can anyone anywhere provide a plausible reason why LBOs should be open when AGCs, their neighbours on the high street, remain closed?

My industry has gone way beyond what any other retail sector has done!

Hairdressers and nail bars which involve touching customers – will be open before us which simply does not stack-up.

Is it too much to get a proper grown-up explanation from DCMS to explain why? (The above is from John White BACTA chief executive)

We at Comrie think it is disgraceful to allow one part of the industry to open up a month before all other parts. Amusement arcades, bowling alleys, bingo halls and many other industry’s have been made to wait. We will all miss out on the pent up trading that will follow and another month of losses which is taking its toll on so many businesses!

This stinks of who has the most lobbing power with the government, which in turn means who throws the most money at it…..Bookmakers and on-line gambling have had it there way for far too long. We only have to look how they milked FOBT’s and did not care one bit about the harm they were doing with the high limits. On-line betting and gambling needs a complete overhaul as you can literally lose your home in one evening. Is this protecting and value the interests of the UK public???

Here at Comrie and other fruit machine suppliers, we will all be waiting with bated breath to see how many of our pub and social club customers come out the other end of this enforce longer than needed lock down.

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Is the end of the free to use ATM’s in sight?

Is the end of the free to use ATM’s in sight?

The latest analysis by the consumer champion shows a spike in the number of people forced to pay withdraw their own money from cash machines with experts warning that half of Britain’s ATM’s could close within two years.

According to Which? the findings highlight the need for urgent clarity and direction from the government on the role of cash in the future including specific details about how it will ensure that cash continues to be a viable payment method for those that need it.

Since 2018, two Birmingham constituencies have seen 44 and 41 percent reductions in free to use ATMs, but both had a 50 percent increase in pay to use machines.

Nottingham East has seen 43 percent of free cash machines closed but an 11 percent increase in pay to use machines. All three locations are within the top 10 percent for deprivation in England.

The results are particularly concerning as previous research has shown that those in more deprived areas are more likely to use cash. ATM’s are the most commonly used means of withdrawing cash, with UK Finance figures showing that 91 percent of cash withdrawals took place through ATM’s in 2019.

So what does the future hold for our ATM’s? As we have mentioned a few times on this blog, cash is disappearing fast. We are heading to a cashless society, which has many positives! but there are many people who rely on cash and this is usually the old and poorer sections of our community’s. It is sad to see so many banks removing there free to use cash points and seeing them replaced by private pay to use cash points hitting the most needy.

Fruit machines in pubs are not legally allowed to accept card payments to play them, even though the technology is there and ready to go.  Our industry is pushing hard for this as we are one of the few industry’s that card payments are not accepted. Watch this space for when this regulation changes and another step towards our cashless society happens!

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BUDGET UPDATE ON THE 3RD MARCH 2021

BUDGET UPDATE ON THE 3RD MARCH 2021

After a difficult 12 months, please see below the summary of the announcements made in todays budget.

We are pleased to see the extension of the CJRS and the rates relief and grants for retail leisure and hospitality albeit that they will not be as generous as previously.

We are however deeply frustrated that the Chancellor did not take the opportunity to include seaside amusement arcades in his 5% VAT relief.  He was also totally silent on support for supply chains.  That is a huge oversight and jeopardises the recovery.  For companies so badly affected the 25% Corporation Tax rate from April 2023 for companies with profits over £250k is a kick in the teeth.  New loans are just adding more debt to already distressed companies.   We have written to the Chancellor to make these points very forcibly.

BUDGET SUMMAY

Economic forecast:

  • OBR expects economy to grow by 4% this year – forecasting a “swifter and more sustained recovery” than they were expecting in November.
  • Now expected that the economy will recover to its pre-Covid level by the middle of next year – six months earlier than previously expected.
  • There will be growth of 7.3% in 2022, then 1.7%, 1.6% and 1.7% in the following years.
  • In five years’ time, the OBR still expects the economy to be 3% smaller than it would have been.
  • This year the UK has borrowed £355bn. 17% of national income. Next year borrowing will be 10.3% of GDP. Because of the measures taken today, it will fall to 4.5% of GDP in 2023, then 3.5%, then 2.9%, then 2.8%.

Key announcements:

  • The 100% Business Rates Holiday will continue until the end of June. For the remaining nine months of the financial year, business rates will still be discounted by two thirds, up to a value of £2m for closed businesses.
  • The 5% reduced rate of VAT will be extended for six months to 30th September. It will then have an interim rate of 12.5% for another six months.
  • Gaming Duties will rise in line with RPI.
  • A new Recovery Loans Scheme will come into force in April, where businesses of any size can apply for loans from £25,000 – £10,000,000, through to the end of this year. Government will guarantee up to 80% of lending by providers.
  • Furlough scheme will be extended until the end of September. From July onwards, the Government will introduce an employer contribution towards the cost of unworked hours – 10% in July, 20% in August and September.
  • A new Restart Grant Scheme: £5bn fund to help High Street shops and hospitality firms recover with non-essential retail eligible for grants up to £6,000 and hospitality and leisure businesses more impacted eligible for grants up to £18,000.
  • In 2023 the rate of corporation tax, paid on company profits, will increase to 25%. a new Small Profits Rate at 19% will be introduced for businesses with profits of £50,000 or less. Above £50,000, the Corporation Tax will be tapered so only those with profit of over £250,000 pa will pay the full 25%.
  • Income Tax, VAT and National Insurance triple lock will remain in place – but Income Tax thresholds will be frozen until 2026 following this years planned uplift.
  • Extended loss carry back for businesses – up to £2,000,000 can be carried back for up to three years (specifics depend on company status).
  • Super Deduction: for the next two years when companies invest in new equipment they can offset all of the cost against tax, plus an additional 30%.
  • National Living Wage rise will continue as planned in April.
  • Incentives payment for apprentices has been doubled to £3,000 per apprentice.

There are a few things with in this budget to help pubs and social clubs, notably the Restart Grant Scheme. It needs to be easily and quickly accessible to help get premises equipped with what’s needed to not only open up but help with the extra costs of outdoor drinking. If Comrie can help you in any way with your fruit machine hire or jukebox and pool table requirements please get in touch.

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MP issued with lifetime pub ban as licensees turn bitter

MP issued with lifetime pub ban as licensees turn bitter

Publicans in Warrington have vented their anger on their Curfew supporting member of Parliament by issuing him with a lifetime ban. Andy Carter, the MP representing Warrington South, was issued the ban following a unanimous vote by the Cheshire town’s Pubwatch members.

The decision means that Carter, the Conservative MP who was only elected in 2019, has been banned from entering the town’s pubs, bars, and clubs that are members of the organisation which was formed to promote best practice with aim of achieving a safer drinking environment in all licensed premises throughout the UK.

A spokesperson for the Warrington branch told local media that the 10pm Curfew “had absolutely killed us” arguing the main trading time for town centre pubs and bars was between 11pm and 1am.

He added that the curfew was not backed by any scientific or credible evidence and that Carter had displayed zero support for the hospitality sector in tis hour of need with publicans fearful for their livelihoods.

Defending his actions and those of the government, Andy Carter responded “It is simply not true to say the government hasn’t supported the hospitality industry. Pubs have received grants, access to loans and government schemes including Eat Out to Help Out and more recently back-dated support to August for those areas which were in tier two prior to lockdown”. He went on to add, “The 10pm closing is a decision taken by central Government to help reduce the spread of the deadly virus. I am disappointed to see licensees using an important scheme like Pubwatch to keep people who go to licensed premises in Warrington Town centre safe, for political aims, it’s totally against what it was set up for and brings the scheme into disrepute.”

We totally agree the government is killing pubs and clubs. they are being used as an escape goat, when the track and trace evidence clearly proves hospitality is not a big spreader of the Covid virus. Many bars and restaurants are far safer environments than your local supermarket where everyone is going about their normal day to day. Add in to this the money that has been spent on PPE and other safety measures and now they can not open, or if in tier two only with food. This is still unviable not only for wet lead venues but also licensed premises who are not predominantly food outlets.

It is very sad to see one of Great Britain’s massive employers and nations favorites get pushed to the brink of extinction. Not to mention the many industries that feed off pubs, social clubs, bars, restaurants and night clubs. Also why should these these venues get loans and go in to debt when the rest of the retail sector is now fully up and running. Pubs due to many reasons (high rates, supermarket loss leader pricing, pub company tie-ins) had been experiencing hard times before this outbreak, so this just adds to the problem. We ourselves have experienced first hand the loss of pubs and social clubs closing down permanently and having to remove our fruit machines on hire and other equipment from these venues.

 

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KEEP SAFE FROM SCAMMERS

Unfortunately at Comrie we have been scammed numerus times by criminals breaking in to our machines and the premises they are located on. these criminals are now turning to easier and more profitable ways on-line. Below are so points that we hope will help you keep safe when paying for things on-line. It does look like the day is getting very close for fruit machines in pubs and social clubs to be able to accept debit cards as a way of payment so we have been looking at all our on-line security systems to get us ready for that day.

Data breaches, identity theft and online scams are now daily occurrences. A destructive flood of fraud sweeps the nation, leaving countless victims in its wake. Unfortunately, new and improved technology only gives fraudsters an edge, making it easier than ever for scam artists to steal financial and personal data from unsuspecting consumers. But, there are things consumers can so to protect themselves.

Here are 10 tips to help you steer clear of some of the most common financial scams:

  1. Never transfer money to a stranger’s bank account

At some point or another, you’ve probably received an email claiming to be a family member in an emergency situation or from a complete stranger claiming they need help, all asking you to pay monies into an unknown (usually foreign) bank account. DON’T DO IT! If you are concerned about the family member – contact them, their email has probably been hacked and they are sitting at home have a cup of tea!

Although it is one of the oldest internet scams, consumers are still falling for it. Once any monies are transferred into these accounts it is virtually impossible to reverse the transaction or trace the money.

DELETE THE EMAIL – and make that call if claiming to be a relative!

  1. Don’t give out financial information

Never reveal any financial information to a person or business you don’t know, whether they contact you via phone, text or email. Scammers will sometimes email or call you, claiming to be from a retailer, financial institution or government agency. They may say your account has been compromised or needs to be updates. More often than not, these crooks are trying to trick you in to giving them your credit card number, NI number or other financial information.

This common scam is known as phishing. Remember your bank or Credit Card Company will never contact you and ask for personal information. If you receive, a suspicious call or email and are concerned about your account, call the credit card company or bank directly to check.

  1. Never click on hyperlinks in emails

If you receive an email from a stranger or company asking you to click on the hyperlink or open an attachment and then enter your financial information, delete or report the email as spam immediately. Even if the email appears to be or looks like it from your bank or credit card company, it is more likely to be a scam!

  1. Use tough to crack passwords

These day, a password like “12345” or “fluffy” just isn’t going to cut it. Hackers can easily crack password that are simple number combinations for a common pet name. Create passwords that are at least eight characters long and that include some lower case and upper case letters, numbers and special characters. You should also use a different password for every website you visit.

How on earth can I remember 20 different passwords that look something like 5Rg@67&bt3? I hear you ask. That’s where a password programme like Roboform or LastPass can help. These handy programs can help you generate strong passwords and securely and quickly access them when you need them.

  1. Never give out your National Insurance number

If you receive an email or visit a website that asks for your number, DON’T SO IT! It is more likely a scam. Legitimate businesses rarely ask for this information.

  1. Install antivirus and spyware protection

Protect sensitive information stored on your computer by installing antivirus, firewall and spyware protection. Once you have installed the program, make sure you turn on the auto-update feature to make sure the software is always up to date.

  1. Don’t shop with unfamiliar online retailers

When it comes to shopping online, only do business with familiar companies. If you are interested in making a purchase from an unfamiliar retailer, make sure you do some research to ensure the business is legit and trustworthy. ie; search online for consumer feedback and complaints.

  1. Don’t download software from pop-up windows

When you are online, be wary of pop-up windows that appear and claim your computer is unsafe. If you click on the link in the op-up to start the “system scan” or some other program, malicious software known as “malware” could damage your operating system.

  1. Make sure the websites you visit are safe

Before you enter your financial information on any website, double check the website’s privacy policy rules. Also make sure the website uses encryption, which is usually symbolised by a lock to the left of the website address. When you see the lock, this means the information you are entering is safely encrypted and protected against hackers.

  1. Only donate to charities you Know

If you receive a call or email solicitation for a charity looking for donations, do your homework before you take out your credit card. Some scammers create bogus charities to steal credit card information. You can search for legitimate charities on the Charities Commission website.

I hope by reading this it will stop you becoming pray to these heartless scammers.

Remember your personal and financial details belong to you! Don’t let them into the hands of strangers.

 

 

 

 

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How To Pour The Perfect Pint

We spotted this article and thought it might be of use for any pubs or clubs training new staff. We are no experts ourselves in pouring pints, although a few of us at Comrie enjoy drinking them :)  We are having mixed reports from our customers about how trade is coming out of lockdown. Our trade generally is down but we can see that week on week it is picking up. So looking at it all positively we are hoping to be back to pre- Covid levels by Christmas. As before lockdown and most popular machines in Pubs and Clubs is the Digital fruit Machines.

As we all know, the best beer to be had in a pub doesn’t come out of a bottle.. Instead, most pubs have a variety of beers on tap, usually including both popular beers produced by small corporations as well as local specialties. A well poured pint of beer tastes nicer than one that’s just been chucked in the glass, and so the technique of the barperson is paramount.

  1. Select your Glass
    It is important to ensure the beer is served in a clean glass, without finger-marks, smudges or residual water from the washing process. It’s especially important to remove grease, as this destroys the head. Recently washed glasses are also undesirable because they are likely to be too warm. If possible, choose a glass with an appropriate logo on it – every little touch helps. After all, you’ll probably get a funny look if a customer orders a Fosters and a Guinness, and gets a Fosters in a Guinness glass, and a Guinness in a Fosters This is particularly important if the order contains two or more similar looking beers, such as Stella and San Miguel.

In general it is safe to assume that customers will be happy with a straight glass, but they may ask for a mug or jug, in which case you should give them their beer in a squat heavy glass with a handle. Certain regulars at some pubs defy all expectation, and you just have to learn what strange object they want their beer in. Although it is illegal to sell draught beer in measures other than 1 pint or 1/2 a pint you should only worry out this if there’s a policeman actually in the pub.

  1. Approach the Pump
    Here’s where things get more complicated. For a stout, such as Guinness or Murphys you can just place the glass on the drip tray. With lager or bitter that’s on tap you should hold the glass at about 40 degrees to the vertical just under the tap. Real Ale, or anything else that comes out of an actual pump follows a similar principle, but due to inherent foaminess you should probably make sure the pump nozzle is well inside the glass. It’s quite a simple concept to understand: the further the beer falls before it strikes the glass, the more foam will be created. Since in most cases you want to minimise the head, you must also minimise this distance.
  2. The Pull/Pour
    1. Lager (e.g. Fosters
      For a pint with minimal head it is a simple matter of holding the glass at its angle, and opening the tap. It’s important to fully open the tap, or it will splutter, and there’ll be too much foam. As the glass begins to fill you can straighten it up to the vertical. Flip the pump back up just as the beer fills the glass. If a little head is desirable, there are two alternatives. Either you can be a bit more careless in the pouring, allowing foam to be produced, or with some taps you can flip the tap up when the beer is about half an inch from the top, and then press a button on top, which forces out beer mixed with air, creating a head.
      According to 409 some pumps do this when pushed away from the user. pjd also notes that some lagers such as Carling require far more care than others.
    2. Real Ale, or pumped Bitter (e.g. Abbot Ale
      Rather different in technique, this is the only sort of pint that is actually “pulled” from a pump. Grasp the top of the pump, and pull down strongly and smoothly, whilst minimising the distance between glass and pump nozzle. After the first pull, ensure the nozzle is clear of the beer surface before returning the pump to an upright position. If you don’t do this then you will suck up the beer you just pulled! Pull more beer using a similar technique until the pint is full. It should only take 3 or 4 pulls to fill the glass. Do not stop pumping until the glass overflows, as the inevitable head will cloud your view of the liquid level. After pulling your pint, ensure that the pump is returned to an upright position.
    3. Bitter on Tap (e.g. John Smiths
      This should be poured in a similar manner to lager, but the characteristics of the beer generally lead to head being formed more easily. Down in the south of England you should try to minimise the amount of head formed, whereas northerners generally prefer their beer to have a little head. Creating exactly the desired quantity takes some practice unfortunately.
    4. Stout (e.g Guinness
      Although Guinness.com suggests holding the glass at an angle, as with other pints, it is safe to simply leave the glass on the drip tray, and open the pump up. Since you can leave the glass on the drip tray with the pump on you can save some time by dealing with another drink. When the glass is about 2/3 full flip up the tap, and leave the pint to settle for a minute or so. During this time the liquid should lose its cloudy appearance, and become black, with a white foamy head. When this has happened you can carefully lift the glass up to the tap, and fill it to the brim. Due to the thick head you should even be able to slightly overfill the glass. Place on the bar, to settle to perfection.

A Full Pint?
Since most beer glasses hold exactly a pint of liquid when full it is important to ensure that they are full to the brim. Some people don’t consider head part of the pint, whereas some will be annoyed if they don’t get any. The most important thing is to respect your customer’s wishes (which usually involve more head further north), and to not worry about pouring slightly too much beer in the glass, as a little bit of wastage to overflow is preferable to lost customers due to short measure. If a beer is left to stand on the bar, and as the head clears it is revealed that the customer has not been given a full pint you should offer a top-up, so long as the pint hasn’t been at all consumed.

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Long Live the Local Pub!

Long Live the Local Pub!

This is even more important now than in any other time, with what our local Pubs and Social clubs will be facing coming back from Covid19. Pubs and Clubs were the first to be hit and looking like the last ones to be allowed to re-open. At this stage we do not know the impact on our national treasures but I guess it is going to be a big hit without help from the government.

Local pubs keep communities thriving, pubs are under a range of tax pressures. 3 pubs a day close their doors for good!

Further information about the beer tax is below, however in the meantime, please sign the petition to Cut Beer Tax. You can do this here;

https://www.longlivethelocal.pub/

On October 29th 2018, then Chancellor Phillip Hammond announced a freeze on beer duty freeze in response to a 116,000 strong petition asking for a cut in Beer Duty. That freeze ends in February 2020 and current plans mean a Retail Price Index (RPI) linked increase is planned. The General Election means the Autumn Budget has been postponed to early 2020 so there’s still time to make a difference.

So why cut beer tax? The simple answer; in the UK, Beer is overtaxed.

The UK has one of the highest Beer Duty (tax) rates in Europe and is three times the EU average. The government collects £3.5 billion every year in Beer Duty, as well as almost £10 billion in other taxes on pubs and brewers. Today one in every three pounds spent in pubs goes to the taxman

Along with Business rates and VAT, Beer Duty is putting pubs under enormous pressure; every day pubs are closing their doors for good. And it’s getting worse.

The government increased Beer Duty in 2017 and froze it in 2018, with year on year RPI linked increases planned it’s likely that Beer Duty will increase by at least 3% every year for the foreseeable future.

The last time Beer Duty increased year on year was between 2008 and 2013 when the government put a Beer Duty escalator in place. The impact on the beer and pub sector was catastrophic, within 5 years there was a 24% decline in beer sales, 5,000 pubs closed and 58,000 people lost their jobs.

So now we need to fight.

Pubs have been at the heart of our culture for generations and remain one of our most valuable assets. The pub and brewing industries combined create jobs, encourage tourism, and most importantly provide a vital place for communities to gather.

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Don’t rely on luck for your pub lotteries

As we are already into 2020 many operators will be planning promotions and activities for the coming year.

Many will be holding lotteries and raffles in conjunction with events that they plan to hold at their venue.

A lottery is a kind of gambling which has the following key elements:

  1. You must pay to enter the game
  2. There is always at least one prize
  3. Prizes are awarded purely on chance

The Gambling Act 2005 contains strict controls on the types of gambling activities that can tale place at premises licensed for the sale of alcohol. Provided that you un your event with the strict criteria laid down by the act, it is possible for alcohol licensed premises to hold certain types of lotteries/raffles without needing any additional form of licence or permit.

Listed below are some key points to remember when thinking about operating a lottery or raffle.

Customer lottery/raffle:

  • Proceeds from ticket sales have to be spent on prizes (less deductions for reasonable expenses incurred, such as the cost of the tickets) Note that a customer lottery is not suitable for charity fundraising (you could consider a charity raffle)
  • The maximum value per prize cannot exceed £50. The prize can be cash, goods, or a mixture of both.
  • Advertisements can only be on the premises. There cannot be any promotional material available outside of the premises itself.
  • Tickets can only be sold to a customer when they are on the premises.
  • Every ticket must give the name and address of the premises and the price of the ticket. It must also state that the tickets are only available to customers of the premises and are non-transferrable.
  • Only one draw per seven days is permitted to take place.
  • The rollover of prizes is not permitted.
  • Children under 17 cannot take part.

Charity Raffle:

Must be provided as an incidental part of another event. This event does not have to be being held for charity, but you must adhere to the limitations as its operations.

A maximum of £500 can be deducted from ticket sales for prizes but additional prizes can be donated.

A maximum of £100 can be deducted to cover any reasonable expenses.

No rollover is permitted.

Tickets can only be sold at the time of the event.

If you require any further information, this can be found on the Gambling Commission website.

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Pubs committed to tackling under 18 gambling in face of Commission warnings

The Gambling Commission has called for pubs to take further action to stop under-18s from playing gaming machines – and the sector has already responded.

Over the past 12 months, the regulator has worked with local authorities and police to test compliance with laws in place to protect under-18s from the risks gambling can pose, finding that 84% failed to prevent it on at least one occasion. This is an issue already acknowledged by the BBPA and UK Hospitality, who last month joined forces on a new initiative to tackle underage gambling in pubs.

While recent figures are down from the 88% failure rate from a sample taken last year, the Gambling Commission said the rules for the machines are still not being appropriately enforced.

“The pub industry must accelerate action to enforce these rules. Pubs must take age verification on machines as seriously as they do for alcohol sales, and they risk losing their entitlement to offer machines if they do not” said the Commission’s Programme Director, Helen Rhodes. “The results last year were extremely disappointing, and we have supported local authorities in their action to raise standards. This included working with the providers of training to the pub industry to emphasise the legal requirements in training materials, a well as with the Home Office to work towards including materials on gambling in pubs in the curriculum for the personal licence holder course”

The BBPA and UK Hospitality are working with their members to produce an updated Social Responsibility Charter for Gaming Machines in pubs. The Charter incorporates a Code of Practice aimed at promoting collaboration and training to prevent underage gambling.

Core principles include collaboration across the sector to help address underage gambling, as well as offering support to staff to ensure they understand and meet their legal responsibilities.

Chief Executive of the British Beer and Pub Association, Brigid Simmonds said, “It is important for pubs to ensure that their gambling machines are not used by those underage. Not least because failure to do no could result in action being taken by local authorities to remove gaming machine entitlements, when they offer both entertainment and much needed additional revenue for over taxed pubs”.

We have recently wrote in all our sites to warn them to be on the look out for any potential underage trying to play machines. This can also pay dividends because at the same time you are keeping an extra eye on your machines to make sure no unfamiliar faces are trying to cheat them. this is something we have had happening over the last month, we will be posting more about this soon. If you are looking for the latest digital fruit machines in your pub or club please call Comrie today.

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