Covid-19 Update

6th May 2021


Dear Member


Covid-19 – I am sure all members will be busy preparing for re-opening on May 17th.  It’s been an incredibly tough 14 months and I sincerely hope that we are now on an upward trajectory and moving into a post-pandemic world.  I wish all members well for the future.  It is still going to be tough for a few months yet but getting open is the first step to recovery.


I also hope that these Updates have kept you up to speed with what you need to know.  I will keep them going but with less covid news (thankfully) they will revert to informing you of other issues too (see below).


It is very important as part of your preparations that you dust off your Covid 19 risk assessments and make sure they reflect any new thinking you may have had in light of the evidence.  For example we have amended our guidance to reflect that fact that machines do not  need to be cleaned after every use but only on a regular basis.  There are new test and trace posters and rules for obtaining contact details of all over 18s entering your premises.


It is also worth revisiting some of the statutory requirements you have under the LCCP to make sure everything is up to date for example your local area risk assessment.  Also for the arcade sector it is important to ensure you can handle self-exclusions and customer interactions from day one.  I have written to you separately about bacta’s upgraded Self-Exclusion and Customer Interaction service hosted on the new bactaPortal.


If you have any questions we are here to help.


In that regard you may be interested in a session the Department of Health is holding next week on Test and Trace in England.  Click here to join the meeting.  There is no need to register.  Just click here next Tuesday 11 May, 1530-1615 Meeting Link 


ADR – Members will also need to be ready to handle any complaints – something I am sure no-one has missed!  For those of you using the free-to-members Alternative Dispute Resolution service provided by bacta ADR Services, please note that there is a new telephone number 01903 873785 and the website has been updated  Please take a look to familiarise yourself again with the guidance on using the service.


Bet Fred and Terms and Conditions – members may have seen that Bet Fred were ultimately required to pay a punter £1.7 million he won on an on-line game that had malfunctioned.  Bet Fred defended the claim by relying on their terms and conditions which utilised phrases common to those we find used in the machine industry such as machine malfunction voids all wins or similar.  The Court held these were too vague amongst other things.  Manufacturers and operators are therefore advised to consult their lawyers as to the strength of these types of clauses in light of this case.  If you want to read more detail please click here.  There is a good article here (you will have to register)


Single Site Operators – there are already a couple of local authorities saying that pubs cannot have their machines on when indoor hospitality resumes on May 17th.  This is not true.  There is no guidance to say you can’t in England and Wales. In Scotland the guidance says machines can be on in Level 2 from May 17th but Pool Tables cannot be used until Level 1 applies.  We have agreed guidance with UK Hospitality and the British  Beer and Pub Association from last summer which is still extant which has been circulated.  I have asked UKH to put an explicit Q&A in their Government endorsed guidance, and I have written to DCMS seeking a letter making the position clear.  The requirement for table service is to avoid people crowding bar areas not an instruction to remain routed to your seat at all times.  Also table service can be provided whilst playing a machine or a pool table.  If you have any issues let me know.


Subscriptions – I obviously fully understand the situation members have found themselves in over the past 14 months and just how tight money has been and will continue to be for a while yet.   In the circumstances we have not sought to actively collect our subscriptions for 2020/21 or indeed for those outstanding amounts from the previous years, and asked only that members pay if and when they can.  As we move out of lockdown I would ask members who haven’t been able yet to pay their subscriptions to get in touch with the Finance Team to arrange payment.  We can spread amounts over the year, by direct debit preferably, or in some other way that accommodates the business.  Bacta has also experienced a substantial income drop over the past year with EAG being cancelled and a loss of rent from tenants at Ely Place so does need to start to collect outstanding subs to allow us to continue the work of representing the amusement machine industry’s interests.  Your support is highly valued.


Kind regards