11th June 2021
Re-Opening for business – Having just completed the Summer round of Division Committee meetings, I have been able to get a really good picture of how the first month of re-opening has been for members. Overall the sentiment is that things are going ‘better than expected.’ That is good to hear but will not instantly wipe away the physical and mental impacts of the last 14 months. Members took a financial hit from which it will take years to recover and we must continue to make the case to Governments for on-going support for our sector, whether it’s cuts to VAT and MGD to simply getting the grant money from local councils to members, which we will do with the same level of energy we always show in support of members.
Tourism – Whilst a lot of people have taken the chance to get out and about to visit the coast (and pop into the arcade), there is a longer term strategy required for the whole tourism sector. The Tourism Recovery Plan was published today and replaces the Sector Deal. There is a lot in there which is good generally although I was disppointed that the work previously done by the likes of Lord Bassam on highlighting the needs of the coast was poorly covered. You can read it here. I would welcome any views from members. https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/992974/Tourism_Recovery_Plan__Web_Accessible_.pdf
MP engagement – bacta’s on-going engagement is receiving another push as we move into the post-Covid world. We are re-igniting the Save our Seaside campaign and in a new move pushing distinct messaging about AGCs to our political stakeholders. One of the challenges we have is to dislodge out-dated negative stereotpes about what we offer. Getting MPs and others across the threshold is literally an important and effective first step, but we need to nudge the narrative to one that sees AGCs as socially responsible and econonially significant parts of the Country’s High Streets – we have all the evidence to support that claim. One thing we are looking at is moving away from the term Adult Gaming Centre which has negative connotations and in my view does not reflect the true nature of our offer. Any alternative suggestions would be greatly received!
Safer Gambling Week – As part of our PR around AGCs we participate in Safer Gambling Week and I would encourage not just our High Street Arcades to participate this year. The date for your diaries is 1st – 7th November.
SR Exchange – Bacta will again be running its highly regarded SR Exchange this year. It will be held virtually on the 10th November – another date for your diary.
One more date – While I am looking at my diary please put the bacta Annual Convention in yours – it will be held on 25th November in person and as usual will be preceded by our Parliamentary Reception in the House of Commons the night before.
New GC CEO – Finally I would like to welcome Andrew Rhodes, the new interim CEO of the Gambling Commission, to his new role. I am sure we will continue the constructive and open relationship we have built with his predecessors over the past few years for the benefit of us both.
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