While many marvelled at the novelty of a new £1 coin last week, pier bosses have been reminding the public of the burden it has placed on the seaside sector.
Bosses at piers around the British coastline have been telling regional media of the huge costs they have incurred to prepare their amusement operations for the new £1 coin.
Adam Williams, who owns Llandudno Pier as well as three other arcades on the North Wales coast, revealed that he had to pay £30,000 to ensure the 1,000 amusement machines he owns were ready for the coin, which entered circulation last week.
He told BBC Radio Wales’ Good Morning Wales show: “We’re lucky as we are a sizeable company with in-house engineers.
“So we can deal with these kind of problems even though it will cost us tens of thousands of pounds to accept this new £1 coin.
“If I was a small business or single-site operator it could make you bankrupt.”
Williams said he was glad the new coins were introduced before the Easter holiday: “Thankfully we can get the machines adapted and tested before the start of the summer season.
“They brought the coin in at the right time so we’ve had the winter quiet period to do this work.
“So although there is not a lot of income coming in to pay for the work, it does mean we can start the summer off fully operational.”
On the east coast, Skegness Pier had initially thought it would be able to reprogram its amusement and change machines to accept the new coin for £10,000.
In the end, it ended up having to replace all of its coin mechs for a cost of £20,000 – money that owner UK Piers said could have been invested into the attraction itself.
Gabriella Wilkinson, manager of Skegness Pier, told Lincolnshire- Live: “£20,000 is a lot of money to be expected to pay with no help. “That £20,000 could have been invested into the pier and helped to improve the visitor experience and attract more people and repeat business to Skegness.
“Originally we thought it would cost us £10,000 to reprogram our machines but now we are looking at doubling that because we have to replace them.
“This a national thing that’s happening but it’s money out of our pockets.”
In the south west, Weston-super- Mare’s Grand Pier had to pay out £15,000 to adapt more than 600 coin mechs in its amusement machines, change machines, entry turnstiles and ride turnstiles.
With up to 20,000 £1 coins being processed in a day during the summer months at the Grand Pier, managers said it was essential that the transition was a smooth one.
Tim Moyle, general manager at the Grand Pier, told Bristol24/7: “We have had about four months to get the job done at great cost. And that cost comes off our bottom line as a business.
“It has to be done because by the autumn of this year, the old pound coin will be out of circulation and we won’t be able to accept them anymore. It’s a reasonable hit to the operating bottom line profit for the business though and the government has given no help at all in this.
“It’s just a cost we have to bear. We have made the changes in house but it has had staffing implications in terms of cost as well.”
Moyle said he also expects the pier will take another hit of around £2,000 when it has to disable the mechanism allowing machines to accept the old £1 coin.