Lincs Police: ‘Cut crime – play fruit machines’

Lincolnshire Police have told residents of the region to play more fruit machines this summer, as a way of reducing the risk of becoming a victim of car crime.

It might seem like an unlikely suggestion, but the police force explains that by taking loose change with you to play fruit machines or buy an ice cream, you ensure it is not left on show in your vehicle.

As such, any passing opportunistic thieves will not be tempted to smash a window and grab the few pounds in loose change that might be visible otherwise.

The police force said: “Don’t leave any valuables on show, even a few coins could tempt a thief – take any change with you for slot machines or ice creams.”

It’s part of a press release that urges people to enjoy the summer sunshine and any days out, but to do so cautiously in order to avoid becoming a victim.

But it’s great to see pub fruit machines get a mention alongside ice creams as two ways to have fun this summer, at a cost of just a handful of loose change, and fight crime at the same time.

Pub pool tables continue to set the scene

Pub pool tables help to bring a sense of scenery to pubs – and this summer, they have been doing the same in several theatre productions.

The latest of these is A Handful of Stars, a production at London’s Trafalgar Studios until Friday July 25th.

A previous run of the show at Theatre503 was a sell-out success, prompting the decision to transfer the production to Trafalgar Studios so further audiences can enjoy it.

The show stars Keith Duffy and is the first revival of Billy Roche’s original production since 1988, transporting audiences back in time to the troubled decade.

Set in the Irish community of Wexford, main character Jimmy finds sanctuary in pub pool tables, retreating to his local pool hall to avoid the random acts of violence that occur in the outside world.

The story is one of bright ambition – and of the attempt to succeed against the odds and obstacles Jimmy faces in his troubled surroundings.

Following several other productions this summer that have used pool tables and fruit machines as set dressings, A Handful of Stars further demonstrates the scenic impact pool tables can have on an interior, whether it is a pub, club or a theatre.

How gaming machines can have emotional impact

Gaming machines often feature a large sign attached to the top of them, advertising the biggest jackpot that can be won in any one game – which is now £100 on the more modern pub machines and up to £400 on club machines.

 But is the chance of monetary reward the greatest motivating factor in deciding whether or not people put their coin in the slot?

 According to a study in the July 2014 edition of the Journal of Gambling Studies, financial profit is probably not the motivation for the majority of players.

 Instead, there are lots of emotional reasons why gamblers play pub and club fruit machines.

 “Comparison of the competing models revealed that gambling for the chance to win money was not the most prominent motivation,” the researchers write.

 Rather, they found that many people perceive gambling as an escape, a source of excitement, a social event and even a way to feel more self-important.

 Many of these motivations can be found in other pastimes, such as competitive sport, which surprisingly could suggest that the same driving forces lead people to play on pub pool tables as on slot machines.

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.