The Christmas Countdown has started!

If you want your tills to be ringing like Santa’s sleigh bells, you need to start preparing for Christmas now. The shops have already started selling Christmas presents and decorations, and most people are looking forward to celebrating Christmas during the whole of December, not just the 25th.

Here are some tips to help you make the most the festive period:

Consider your layout

Whether you run a pub or a club, take stock and analyse the way you are using your space. Are there too many tables, are there not enough? When it turns colder, how are you going to utilise your beer garden? If you install some attractive heaters outside, you could open up the space and increase your capacity.

What is your food offering like?

Has your chef got any ideas about expanding your menu to make it more Christmassy? Even your bar snacks could get a makeover. Punters will love the option of having a bowl full of pigs in blankets to munch on. Warm mince pies will go down a treat too.

If you don’t currently offer a set menu, why not consider having one? This could be ideal for families or work party bookings.

How about special deals?

If you’re usually quiet during the day, think of ways you can pull people in. Could you have a Christmas craft morning with lunch? Or perhaps lunch with Santa and advertise it to Tots groups in your area?

Entertainment matters

Music matters, especially over Christmas. A digital jukebox would allow your punters to choose what music they want to listen to, whether it’s a Christmas track, an old classic or the current number 1.

An evening of carols by the fireside might go down well in a traditional pub and you could have a festive pool competition (Team Elves vs Reindeers) etc. Pool tables can be a huge attraction and make your venue stand out from the competition.

To discuss hiring a digital jukebox or pool table, give Manco Automatics a call on 0161 870 7777, or fill in a contact form >

How pub pool tables can cheer up the crowds for charity

Pub pool tables are meant to make a profit while entertaining your customers – and Manco offer a number of pool table rental and profit-sharing arrangements to help you to maximise your take.

But sometimes it’s good to give something back too, and Manco are proud to do our part to support charities when we can.

One example of this is our recent work with a local school, where we were able to donate the takings from coin-operated pool tables to the school’s fundraising efforts for a breast cancer charity.

We know not all businesses can do this – and we can’t do it all the time either – but occasionally this is a way for our coin-operated pool tables to help give back to the community.


How jukeboxes, pool tables and quiz machines help charities

There are lots of different coin-operated machines for pubs, clubs, community groups and schools to choose from, and they all give immediate entertainment in return for the money people put into them.

Whether it’s a game on a quiz machine or pool table, or a song played on a jukebox, it means people get something in exchange for the money they give you – encouraging more people to part with their loose change.

You could choose to donate all of your profits to charity, or even just a small percentage, which can build up to a decent donation over the course of a year or more.


Upcoming charity dates and events

The final months of the year are traditionally a time when charity dates start to come thick and fast, with Children in Need falling in November of each year.

Christmas Jumper Day comes on Friday December 14th in 2018 and typically around the same time each year too – so you could link a share of your quiz machine or jukebox takings with the donation you make for that.

Or of course Christmas in general is a time for giving – Boxing Day takes its name from the tradition of collecting in charity boxes on December 26th, so why not make it Jukeboxing Day this year?


How Manco can help

As we have already said, at Manco Automatics we are proud to support charities when we can, and that sometimes means donating a portion of our own profits towards the fundraising efforts.

Even if we are not able to help directly with a financial contribution, our profit-sharing arrangements mean you don’t have to pay upfront to hire pool tables and other coin-operated machines from us.

That means you keep an agreed percentage of all profits from the machine – and you can then donate some or all of this to charity safe in the knowledge that you won’t be left facing any costs either.

Fixed-odds fall-out: MPs argue over date for lower FOBT stakes

The row over lower FOBT stakes continues – this time not over the proposed £2 maximum stake, but instead over when the government should implement this change.  

Work to introduce a maximum stake on fixed-odds betting terminals, better known as FOBTs, has been going on for months.  

Jeremy Wright, secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport, told Parliament in early November: “The government were urged in an early-day motion in June this year and by the all-party group on fixed-odds betting terminals not to wait until April 2020 to do so, and we have not done so.”

But he added that the ‘best date’ to implement lower FOBT stakes is not until October 2019, with a change in remote gambling duty at the same time to compensate for the reduction in tax receipts from FOBTs.

However, this led to criticism from MPs including Labour’s Tom Watson and Carolyn Harris, who said: “Don’t give me warm words, give me action – April 2019!”

We support an earlier introduction of reduced stakes for FOBTs as clearly this is an issue that demands prompt action – and we will be watching closely when the government vote on the proposals in 2019.


Have an outstanding October with our top tips

A lot of people are going sober for October in support of Macmillan, so what can you do to entice the non-drinkers into your bar or club? We have some great ideas…

Bake off fun

The Great British Bake off is the most talked about TV show at the moment, so why not try to hold Bake Off specials on Tuesday nights? There might only be a few weeks left but your weekly event could gain momentum and could even lead to your own Bake-off charity event once the series has finished. Put Paul and Prue on the big telly, get your chef to create an exclusive sweet treats menu and wait for the Bake off fans to descend.

Live music

If you don’t have any plans to hold live music nights in October, think again. The nights are getting colder and you want to give people a reason to come out. Local battle of the band competitions are always popular but you could also try arranging a few tribute act nights. A Michael Bublé, Lionel Ritchie or Abba tribute could be a huge success and you could charge £5+ a ticket.

Juke boxes and pool

Make your pub or club THE place to go in your local area for entertainment. If you hire a pool table and a digital joke box, you’ll be giving your customers more reasons to stay in your pub or club for longer. It’ll encourage people to chat who mightn’t have chatted otherwise, helping to create a warm, friendly vibe. If you set up a pool league, you could inject some friendly competition and see people making repeat visits 2 or more times a week.
To discuss hiring a pool table and/or juke box, please give us a call on 0161 870 7777 or fill in our contact form.

Charity night

Children In Need have just launched their campaign for 2018 and although the Children In Need night isn’t until November, there’s nothing stopping your running a few events and starting collecting now. You might decide to fill a bath with beans, have a sponsored head shave… get your thinking caps on (and discuss with your regulars). Your local paper might be willing to cover any activity you do and the extra publicity could be just what you need (and you’ll be raising money for worthy causes at the same time.

If there is a charity that is close to your heart, perhaps a local charity, you could opt to run a charity night in their honour instead.

Labour pledge ban on credit card gambling

Following a year-long consultation, Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson has announced a number of measures that aim to reduce the risks of problem gambling, including:

• A ban on credit card gambling.
• A ban on advertising during live sports events.
• New rules so gamblers can block gambling transactions on their debit cards.
• A 1% industry levy to fund research into problem gambling.
• New NHS guidelines on gambling addiction and mental health.

The first three of these represent the most direct changes for gamblers themselves, while the last two affect how problem gambling is addressed when it occurs.

So what are the implications of a ban on credit card gambling, an opt-out from debit card gambling by asking your bank, and a ‘whistle to whistle’ ban on gambling adverts during sporting events?

Putting right the 2005 Gambling Act

Some of the measures to restrict the gambling industry just restore the controls that were relaxed by the 2005 Gambling Act, introduced under Tony Blair’s Labour government.

The 2005 Gambling Act:

• Allowed gambling adverts on television and radio.
• Proposed the creation of eight super casinos in the UK.
• Introduced the limit of four FOBTs per betting shop.
• Removed ‘no purchase necessary’ clauses from product promotions.

In a sense, some of what is now being proposed appears to be a way to make amends, albeit 13 years later and at a time when Labour are not in government.

‘Bet in play’ gambling ads

Much gambling advertising during live sporting events is for ‘bet in play’ markets and features live odds – putting pressure on punters to place their stakes within seconds.

It’s impossible to target adults only when it is clear that many teenagers and even children will be watching their sporting heroes, making a ban on gambling ads in live sports broadcasts a sensible precaution.

There would naturally be a loss of advertising revenue, but the net benefits are overwhelming – we should be encouraging young people to take up sports, not take up betting on sports.

Gambling on credit cards

Finally, it is hard to object to a ban on credit card gambling. Credit cards by definition spend money that you do not already have – if it is your own money, you can use a debit card instead.

It should be as difficult as possible to run up problem debts while gambling, yet credit card gambling is easy and attracts high interest rates.

By comparison, there are good reasons not to restrict sensible debit card gambling, which only spends money you already have – and which Labour are proposing cardholders should be able to block by asking their banks.

This option would ensure that cardholders are in control of whether their debit card can be used for gambling transactions, which could ultimately allow card readers to be included in a wider variety of gaming machines.

At a time when more and more people head out to the pub with no cash in their pocket, only a debit card, this makes good sense to allow the industry to keep up with society’s preferences as to how they spend their money.

Manco Automatics Ltd