With thirteen B3 machines in his large Cointron AGC in Gravesend, Barry Smith highlights the importance of the segment for a sector that has suffered from an unlevel playing field.
Filling the 20 percent maximum limit of his Gravesend AGC, Barry Smith, owner of Cointron, is in the chorus that praises the strong performance of B3 machines through what has been long period of regulatory disparity for the sector.
Indeed, Smith hailed his B3 machines as ‘the mainstay of the business’, adding that without such success from the category, his Cointron arcade would find it hard to survive on a high street full of bookmakers.
“It is a completely unlevel playing field at the moment”
“It is a completely unlevel playing field at the moment,” he said. “That’s why there has been a decline in AGCs for over a decade now.”
Of course, Smith is referring to the increasingly heated debate on FOBT stakes, which he believes manufacturers have done extremely well to compete with despite the inherent disadvantage.
“I think they’re trying pretty damn hard,” Smith continued. “They’re giving it their best shot, but all the while you’ve got the B2s it’s unfair competition. AGCs used to be over 18 with no children, why should they have B2s and we can’t have them?”
A rhetorical argument, but one that resonates with those of common sense. Realistically, however, Smith is hoping that the more common industry rumours become reality, which would see a longawaited reduction to FOBTs’ £50 maximum stake.
“The rumour is that they’re going to be reduced to £2 stake same as us,” he explained. “If that happens, it will make strides on leveling out the playing field. At the moment the high street is full of bookmakers, there used to be two, now there’s eight. It’s all down to the machines.”