All indications are that the current Coronavirus vaccination efforts will allow 2021 to become the year of the grand reopening, and for hospitality operators it’s not a moment too soon.
Venue managers will be looking to attract as much business as possible – within any COVID-secure restrictions, of course – and the gaming machine sector is here to support that ambition.
Despite the lockdowns of the past 12 months, it doesn’t mean there are no new developments in slot machines and gaming in general, so what might this year bring?
Cashless coin-op machines
We’re likely to continue to move towards coin-op machines that don’t require coins, and slot machines with no slots, as cashless gaming machines become more commonplace.
The Coronavirus pandemic has made all kinds of cashless payments the first choice, as handling physical money represents an avoidable risk of transmission.
But it’s also a matter of convenience. In the States, tapping a prepaid card on a designated part of the machine is a familiar way to pay for arcade machines and fruit machines.
With the move towards cashless payments propelled even faster forward by COVID-19, this could be the year for UK fruit machines to follow suit.
Touchscreen gaming machines
The pandemic is not necessarily bad news for touchscreen gaming machines, which are more hygienic than you might imagine.
Touchscreens are smooth and easy to clean, plus they mean there is often only a single point of physical contact with the machine – give the screen a quick wipe with an appropriate surface cleaner and it’s COVID-safe once again.
Quiz machines and digital jukeboxes are already mostly touchscreen, but with more video fruit machines appearing in pubs in recent years, 2021 might prove to be the pivot point when mechanical buttons become a thing of the past.
COVID-themed fruit machines
Finally, will 2021 be the year for COVID-themed fruit machines to hit the market, or is it still too soon?
Slot machine manufacturers are notoriously unafraid to come up with games based around the big news stories – and there’s no bigger story than Coronavirus.
This probably won’t happen while the virus is still a significant threat, but you can bet that once the first round of vaccinations is complete, Coronavirus fruit machines will hit the market.
It’s all part of the British sense of humour and finding the bright side on the darkest days – will you be installing a COVID-19 slot machine in the months to come?
For more information about our own fruit machines, call Manco Automatics today on 0161 870 7777.