Gaming machines perform well on ‘price elasticity of demand’

Gaming machines are among the best performers in the UK betting and gaming market on the economic measure of ‘price elasticity of demand’.

This is a principle that is used to estimate how much an increase in price might reduce demand – and therefore profits – so retailers and operators know what price point will maximise their earnings.

HM Revenue & Customs recently published a study of much of the UK market for different types of gambling, from lottery draws and scratchcards to bingo, and from the betting and pools markets to online gambling.

Gaming machines were included amongst the different categories – and proved to be one of the best performers on price elasticity of demand.

HMRC found that a 1% increase in bingo prices or in terrestrial betting shops leads to a 1% decrease in demand from gamblers.

But among more modern forms of gambling, such as remote betting (including online and mobile) and gaming machines, the drop in demand is only half as much.

This offers much greater opportunity to drive profits – and shows why premium £1 per play titles can work alongside 50p games on the same machine, without either having a negative effect on overall profits.

A successful World Cup for gaming machines

England’s World Cup campaign may not have gone to plan, but there’s plenty of reasons why gaming machines are likely to have benefited – and may continue to do so until the final is played.

Figures from Halifax show how Britons engaged with their finances during the first England match, with cash machine withdrawals down by 25% while the match itself was being played.

Online banking transactions also dropped – but crucially, this effect was not so great, as many Brits are now comfortable with multi-tasking, accessing their online banking on a smartphone or tablet while watching the match on TV.

What does all this have to do with gaming machines? Well one of the other figures quoted by Halifax was a massive 267% surge in gambling transactions just before kick-off.

And with England’s early exit in the group stages, many of these gamblers will still be looking for a win.

With plenty of matches still to come – many of which will not attract devoted attention from pubgoers – and a penchant for viewing multiple screens at once, it’s likely more will look to gaming machines for an instant payout, as they seek to salve the wounds opened by England’s first-round defeat.

An immersive theatre experience set around a pub pool table

A piece of so-called ‘promenade theatre’ in Manchester’s Ancoats district sees small groups of audience members taken through a series of settings, including a scene featuring a pub pool table.

Angel Meadow opened on June 10th and runs until June 29th, an ANU Productions feature attached to Manchester’s HOME arts project.

It challenges the audience to not just look back to some of the city’s darker past, but to actually engage in it, interacting with the characters as part of an immersive performance.

The general setting for this performance is an old pub – a typical city ‘boozer’ of generations past – which is populated with the characters you might expect to find within.

Audience members are invited to interact at various points throughout the performance, and at times this is a deliberately discomfiting invitation.

This means visitors might find themselves leaning over a pub pool table to play a shot, with the character of an abusive husband as their opponent.

It is a deliberately thought-provoking show, which does not dwell on the past, but rather acts as a reminder of how much more civilised the city has become, and is an undeniably artistic use for a pub pool table.

World Cup delivers first piece of trivia for gaming machines

We recently reported on how England’s third-choice goalkeeper Fraser Forster is likely to feature as an answer on pub gaming machines in the years to come.

But in actual fact, the FIFA 2014 World Cup has already started serving up trivia worthy of pub quiz machines, even in the first few minutes of the opening match.

That is because the first goal scored in this year’s tournament was also Brazil’s first ever World Cup own goal, after defender Marcelo deflected the ball into his own net.

Football fan and former ITV late-night quiz show presenter Nigel Mitchell – no stranger to the sport or to obscure trivia – took to Twitter to declare: “Marcelo has just become a pub quiz question!”

And while pub gaming machines tend to stick to the home nations for their sports questions, an own goal in the opening match by the host country – who just happen to be Brazil – makes this a firm contender for football quizzes once the tournament is over.

With England’s matches likely to hold their own fair share of controversy, there’s bound to be plenty more trivia to appear on pub quiz machines before the World Cup final is played and the overall winners decided.

Does the Remote Gambling Bill affect gaming machines?

The Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act – better known to many as the Remote Gambling Bill – received royal assent in May, and that may leave some people in doubt about whether pub gaming machines are affected or not.

Under the new legislation, remote gaming operators who previously did not need a licence may now require one, particularly if they are based outside of the UK but provide gaming services to UK gamblers.

But as many pub gaming machines are connected to the internet to allow question sets and game editions to be updated, are they affected by the new legislation?

The short answer is that it is highly unlikely any pub quiz machine will fall under the definitions used in the legislation.

An FAQ document from the Gambling Commission explains: “Gambling software is defined in section 41 of the Act as computer software that is used in connection with remote gambling but does not include anything for use solely in connection with a gaming machine.”

In general, pub gaming machines have their own operating software – and therefore, they should not fall under the definition in section 41 of the Act, and should therefore be unaffected by this legislation once it is fully enacted.

Manco Automatics Ltd
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