Pull tab machines – what are they and do I want one?

Fruit machines have been around for generations, with pub pool tables appearing around the 1980s, quiz machines at the turn of the millennium, and now pull tab machines – but what are these newcomers, and should your venue have one?

In brief, a pull tab lottery machine allows your customers to deposit their stake, pull a tab – hence the name! – and receive an instant-win lottery card out of the slot at the bottom of the machine.

As you might imagine, the potential maximum prize varies depending on the amount of money the player stakes, with typical card prices ranging from 25p to 50p to £1 and prizes returning up to about 400-500 times that stake.

There’s a cost for the tickets and the venue covers the prizes too, but the best news is there is no need for a licence to have a pull tab machine, which also means it should not affect the number of other categories of gaming machine you can have on your premises.

No tax or duty is charged on the profits – including both VAT and Machine Games Duty – so you keep the full amount your machine makes, less any prize money and the card costs, and subject to any profit-sharing agreement.

Interestingly, past experience shows that most of the people who play via a pull tab lottery machine are not from the normal fruit machine crowd, so you won’t be cannibalising takings from other gaming machines on your premises – you should see most, if not all of your proceeds come on top of the amounts you would normally see on your other gaming machines.

With all of the licensing restrictions on other gaming machine categories, this is a great way for larger premises to offer more without increasing your licensing obligations – making it well worth arranging a trial run, with a view to offering pull tab machines on a long-term basis.

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Manco Automatics Ltd