What does the new £20 note mean for the gaming machine industry?

The polymer £20 note is now officially in circulation, which means any of your future punters could walk in with one in their pocket – so are your gaming machines ready to accept them?

It’s been a challenging few years for the gaming machine industry and for manufacturers of coin-operated machines in general, such as parking meters and vending machines too.

We’ve had polymer £5 and £10 notes, the new 12-sided £1 coin and now the new polymer £20 note, all of which could be incompatible with older coin-operated machines.

Hopefully all long-term customers of Manco have now had their fruit machines, pool tables and jukeboxes updated for full compatibility.

But if you have older fruit machines from other suppliers or mechanically operated ‘push to vend’ pub pool tables, you might still be in a pickle.

Here we’ll look again at some of the options to make sure your gaming machines are compatible with the new polymer £20 note, as well as the plastic £5 and £10, and the new £1 coin.

New coin/note slots

The hardware fix is to install a new coin slot or note feeder, which is designed to work with the new shape of the £1 coin and the materials used in polymer banknotes.

In many cases this can be done quite easily, but there’s always a surge in demand immediately after a new coin or note launches, so contact Manco as soon as possible if you’re having problems accepting the new £20 polymer note.

Updated software

Software updates can restore compatibility in modern coin slots and note readers, which are designed to be updated in this way when necessary.

Even if you had a new note reader installed into your gaming machines when the polymer £5 and £10 notes were released, you might need a quick update to be able to accept the plastic £20 note, so make sure you check this or call out an engineer to be certain.

New gaming machines

Unfortunately, some old gaming machines just can’t be economically updated – either with a new hardware note reader or via a software update – to accept the new £20 note.

It can be a wrench letting go of an old favourite fruit machine, especially if it’s been a nice little earner for your establishment, but generally speaking you’re likely to make more with a modern fruit machine or quiz machine that can take £20 notes.


Whether you’re looking to replace old gaming machines or you’d like to add a new fruit machine, quiz machine, pool table or jukebox to your premises with complete compatibility, contact Manco Automatics today by calling 0161 870 7777 or emailing us info@mancoautomatics.com and we can let you know your options.

The increase of pubs opening in the UK

British pub numbers have been in decline for a period of years, if not decades, with BBPA statistics showing the number of pubs in the UK down from 60,800 in 2000 to 48,350 in 2017.

During that period there wasn’t a single year when the number of pubs in the UK went up – but the times, they are a-changing.

The latest ONS figures under the heading ‘Economies of Ale’ show the sector finally found some forward momentum in 2018-19 for the first time in at least a decade.

Because of the different methods used in their research, the ONS figures are lower overall – putting the number of pubs in the UK around 52,500 in 2001 and 39,000 in 2017.

Since then, the ONS report counted 38,815 bars and pubs in Britain in 2018 but a slight increase to 39,130 in 2019.

Where is the growth?

The good news is, growth in UK pub numbers is being seen across the industry, including small and larger pubs alike.

Among those with fewer than ten employees, growth was 0.4% in 2019, with a net increase of 85 new venues opened over the preceding year – the first positive growth in this category in the past 15 years of ONS measurements.

This was part of a 0.8% growth rate for the wider industry, as a net 315 new bars and pubs opened their doors for the first time between 2018 and 2019.

How are pubs succeeding?

It’s been a turbulent time for the pub sector since the start of the century, and many venues have worked hard to update what they offer to customers.

In 2014 ONS figures showed an almost identical proportion of bar and pub staff worked in preparing and serving food as worked in traditional bar roles.

Since 2015, foodservice roles in pubs and bars have consistently outnumbered those whose main duty is to serve drinks – a sign of how venues have diversified to cater for customers who want to eat out rather than those on a night out drinking.

With trends like ‘Dry January’ gaining in popularity year by year, pubs are also doing more to serve non-alcoholic options not only for designated drivers, but for those who are trying to cut down or eliminate their alcohol intake entirely.

What else can pubs do?

At Manco Automatics we continue to see pubs thrive by offering diverse entertainment, including traditional coin-op pub machines like fruit machines and pub pool tables.

Quiz machines have become a familiar fixture over the past 20 years and continue to offer new gameplay thanks to the ability to update the games and titles via a network link.

Finally, modern pub jukeboxes no longer just play music. They offer both music and video, along with interactive entertainment like automated pub quizzes that can keep customers engaged for longer.

All of this adds up to a diverse range of pub entertainment at a time when the sector is finally finding its feet once again, and we would urge all interested bar managers and pub owners to get in touch with Manco today to find out more.



Employee entertainment

It doesn’t matter whether you have five employees or five hundred, if you want your business to be successful, you should do all you can to make your employees feel valued and appreciated. One way of doing this, is to make sure that the working environment you offer, is appealing and meets the needs of all your employees.

Game of pool anyone? 

The best companies to work for, have communal areas for their workers that allow them to take time out and have fun. Whether it’s a corner of your office, or a separate room, why not have a pool table, table tennis table and some comfy seating? It can make a big difference to employee morale and can be a place everyone enjoys visiting, whether it’s for ten minutes, or their full lunch hour. If you have a large canteen or kitchen area, fitting in a pool table or TV with games console shouldn’t be a problem.

Having a communal area, that appeals to your workers’ inner child, and allows them to have some healthy competition, can benefit both their physical and mental wellbeing. You don’t want employees to be chained to their desks, so why not hire a pool table today? It doesn’t cost very much to do so. Give us a call on 0161 870 7777 and we can arrange a pool table for you pronto.

Décor matters

As well as thinking of how employees can be entertained in the communal area, you should spend time considering the décor and how you can make it feel different to the rest of the workspace. If the rest of the workspace is relatively bland and business-like, you want to try to be more creative and fresh in the communal area, so that employees see it as a place of retreat and escape. Why not consider some bold prints on your seating or a statement wall that packs a punch? Having some framed photos of your team can be nice touch, and a noticeboard to post up information about events coming up too.

If you want to get the most from your communal area, ask employees what they’d like, and let them feel involved. You never know, they might be up for decorating the area after work one night, if you provide the drinks!

Is your pub pool table a Prince or a Winner?

When you hire a pub pool table from Manco Automatics, you have plenty of choice about what style and colour of pool table you get, but in particular you can choose from two leading models: Prince and Winner.

Prince pool tables are more traditional looking, with turned wood-effect legs and laminate casing, in a choice of finishes including traditional oak and walnut – all of which should look perfectly at home in a typical pub setting.

Winner pool tables, on the other hand, have a more ‘modern’ appearance, with angled legs and a choice of finishes you might expect to see in a sports bar or an American pool hall.

There are still wood laminates like walnut available, but also metallic aluminium and polished marble-effect surfaces that offer an eye-catching departure from the turned wood-effect pedestals of Prince pool tables.

In terms of the playing surface, both brands make excellent pub pool tables, and you have the same wide choice of fabrics from classic green to blue, red, purple, grey, black and a host of other shades.

Either brand’s pool tables can also be fitted with Simonis speed cloth, again in a variety of vivid colours, so that you can host more competitive matches and even tournaments if you wish.

You might already have a clear idea of the kind of visual style you want your hired pub pool table to have – and in many cases the classic wood finish of a Prince pool table with green baize will suit the widest range of typical British establishments.

But if you want to attract a younger crowd, or perhaps appeal to slightly more experienced pool players who follow the sport in televised tournaments, Winner pool tables could be the way to go.

You might even end up hosting a regular local league or tournament, which can be a great way to score some free publicity from the local press if you take a few photos of the winner and runners-up.

Our pub pool tables are available on a profit-share basis, so if you are not certain of what will work for you, we can advise on what we think will look best as part of your venue’s interior.

With no money at risk upfront on your part, we will then just share any profits according to the agreement – all you need to do is let us know if the pool table needs any maintenance and so on, and it should prove to be a welcome addition to your venue for your customers, and a valuable extra income stream too

Pool tables keep punters on-site when the sun goes down

Aside from the Christmas and New Year holiday season, the longer lighter evenings of summer are a major boost for the pub trade, but when the sun goes down you risk losing that extra trade in one mass exodus from your beer garden.

Pool tables are a great way to provide punters with a reason to stay for longer, and there’s a naturally good fit between the groups of friends who typically hit the beer garden, and the kinds of people who like to play pool too.

Manco Automatics can supply two of the leading brands of pub pool tables – Winner and Prince – including the option of a profit-share arrangement if you don’t want a cost to cover upfront.

Winner pool tables have more of an American bar feel to the design, with angled legs and chunky curved cushions, making them ideal for a younger crowd or if you run a sports bar or want to embrace the transatlantic style of them.

Prince pool tables, on the other hand, generally have a flatter surround to the cushions, with a more traditional pedestal design to the legs too, and this might be more appropriate in traditional pubs and clubs.

There’s no reason not to choose whichever style you prefer though – trust your own decision-making instincts and you’re most likely to opt for a pool table that will impress your customers.

You have a few other options too, including a wide range of different colours both for the table legs and cushion edges, and for the cloth that covers the slate bed.

Tables can be supplied with either an electronic or mechanical coin validator, and the price per game is adjustable, so it can be set to suit your customers – helping you to keep them on your premises for as long as possible after the sun goes down, and maximising your profits both from your pool table and from drinks sales too.