“For us coastal people, having a couple of months where business is poor, it can feel like a bit of a kick in the teeth to go to an event and spend more money,” says Gary Bond, owner of Leisure 2000 in Paignton. “But that’s always when it’s been so I’ll go with a positive attitude as I always do. I couldn’t imagine myself ever not going.”
He added: “I think it’s important because you get to meet other operators, and obviously you get to talk to all the distributors. You can be told about something or see it in the Coinslot, but it’s nothing like being able to smell it and feel it and make a decision for yourself. Some people you’ve known for many many years. I have a bit of a play on the machines and try them out, you can get a feel for redemption and video games. But not the fruit machine, the proof’s in the pudding, when they’re out there and you see how they perform.”
Bond has noticed a shift away from the AGC side of the business in the recent past, and moved his investment strategy with it. He, like many, have noticed the increased footfall from domestic tourists, and sees this trend to increase into next year.
“Regarding fruit machines, I used to spend a lot more money on fruit machines than I do now. Now I focus more on the family side – redemption, pushers, video – that sort of thing; that seems to have been the growth in the business in the past two years.
“Hopefully things will continue to grow, and our takings will go up. Here in Torbay, we’ve had a new bypass at the end of this month, a new road for getting into Torbay which they’ve been threatening to do for the last few years. That’s going to really improve the flow of traffic and were hoping that’s going to improve the volume of people we get coming down. So overall, I’m hoping for a good year.”