The Rt Hon John Whittingdale OBE MP, Minister of State for Gambling at DCMS, spent several hours as a guest of BACTA in Clacton, Essex on Monday 26.7.21.
Mr. Whittingdale visited a local pub, where BACTA CEO John White and President Greg Wood demonstrated the Game Payment Technology app on a fruit machine. He was then welcomed to Clacton Pier by co-owner Elliot Ball where he was given a tour of the arcade, before moving on to a tour of Billy Peak’s Pavilion.
“It was a very positive visit and we are grateful to the Minister for giving us several hours of his time,” said Greg Wood. “We discussed our asks for the Gambling Review in detail. He was very interested in the GPT app.”
“Bacta has had a long-standing relationship with John Whittingdale, given his previous roles as Chair of the DCMS Select Committee and in the last Government as DCMS Secretary of State. He has always taken the time to understand our business and it was good to put some flesh on the bones of our evidence to the Gambling Review,” added John White. “My thanks to Billy and Elliot for taking time out at one of the busiest periods of the year to host the Minister. They were able to showcase the best of our industry and explain from personal experience just how difficult the Covid-19 has been for amusement machine businesses.”
“We were very grateful to have the opportunity to meet the Minister and discuss the Gambling Review with him. He clearly understood that we are in the serious business of fun and are fully aware of our responsibilities and take them seriously,” added Elliot Ball.
“It also gave us the chance to show him around the pier and demonstrate the investment we have made in Clacton, providing entertainment to visitors and jobs for local people. It was also good to see our local MP – Giles Watling who joined us for part of the visit.”
“We welcomed the opportunity to discuss our business and the family entertainment industry, sharing best practices and the impact of the new gaming act,” said Billy Peak.
“Amusement machines are an important part of the leisure offering, bringing a great deal of fun to visitors and an important revenue stream. Family entertainment business such as ours, although open throughout the year, have seasonal peaks.
“We believe we were able to give the minister a better understanding of the challenges this presents. It was lovely to hear how impressed the minister was with Clacton and what it had to offer.”
It is good to see ministers getting involved and seeing what issues operators have experience during and post-lockdown