Figures released by CLMS – which collects data from over 12,000 pub machines – reveal that curfew is cutting deeper into machine operators revenues than was first anticipated.
During the first week following curfew, CLMS was shocked to report that machine play dropped dramatically by 32% on the preceding week. However, after following the pattern for nearly 2 weeks and comparing it with the same time last month – the reduction in customer play is even more stark; falling by nearly 40%.
“By the end of August, we started to see a true picture of recovery emerging,” Simon Barff, Managing Director of CLMS told SHOWMEN TIMES. “Operators had reclaimed the floats that they had lent to machines once pubs reopened, so we had an accurate idea of revenues. We recorded that around 70% of machines in England were in play and that players were resuming their enjoyment of the machines. The situation was looking hopeful as the industry was getting back on its feet. However, these green shoots of recovery have clearly been trampled on by the introduction of the 10pm curfew.”
“The situation for our Division 2 members is absolutely dire,” adds John White, CEO of BACTA. “As suppliers of machines to pubs and clubs, they were directly affected by the closures of venues in lockdown and yet received no support from the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grand Fund.”
“A recent survey carried out by our members showed that 32% of these companies have had to make redundancies already – or are considering losing part of their workforce. Curfew will undoubtedly add to the pressure of these companies and increase the number of jobs lost,” he adds.
BACTA is calling on the Government to support the machine supply industry. “We need the CJRS extended, rates relief for 2021/22, and 5% VAT and MGD for 12 months. It’s the only way many businesses will make it through the winter. Machine revenue is vital for pubs as well as for suppliers. Let’s stop penalising those businesses who have followed the Guidance and who are not contributing to the rise in cases, before we lose them forever,” concludes White.
Showmen Times can see first hand the detrimental effect that the CURFEW has had on the industry who are already struggling from the initial LOCKDOWN measures introduced in March which have seen operators left reeling from the loss in revenues and rising costs. These measures without urgent GOVERNMENT intervention will only lead to further job losses.