Tony Glanville, managing director of RLMS Sales, discusses the performance of the B4 sector over the last year, and gives his verdict on the segment’s future in AGCs and bingo halls.
How has the B4 sector performed over the last year?
The B4 sector remains a very important market for RLMS Sales. The last year has been buoyant as a result of Bell-Fruit Games having developed particularly strong product for operators to purchase. This, in turn, has provided them with the opportunity to drive income in their customers’ sites. And thanks to some great operator feedback, BFG also introduced a number of operational benefits into their product which, coupled with strong games in their own right, makes them the number one choice for B4 purchasers.
What features make a strong B4 game and do you see any developing trends in this segment?
Brands rather than features are the key element and, in our experience, that has been a major factor in deciding the success or otherwise of a B4 model. BFG has the strongest brands in the B4 sector by far, specifically with Deal or No Deal which first came to the club market over a decade ago and is still going strong. The latest iteration, Club Maximum Deal or No Deal, is still receiving strong orders more than six months after its launch. But without doubt the undisputed heavy weight champion of brands with B4 players is Cops ‘n’ Robbers. Club players have a long affinity with Bert the robber and the poor cop who has been attempting to bring him to justice in the club market for over two decades! The success of the Cops ‘n’ Robbers brand is unrivalled in the club market. We had Club Cops ‘n’ Robbers Diamond Heist last year and at EAG this year we launched Cops ‘n’ Robbers Hot Pursuit Club. Essentially it’s the same strong brand but with two totally different game formats allowing the operator to either replace one Cops ‘n’ Robbers game with another or even have them operating side by side.
What is the average lifespan of a B4 machine in an club? How often do operators need to refresh their machines to keep players interested?
Traditionally B4 players are creatures of habit and like the familiarity of a machine and build quite a rapport with a game which results in longer time on site. Operators need to work closely with their sites to identify when a game’s appeal is starting to wane and income starts to decline. That should be the catalyst for looking to refresh the offering and introduce a new game into the venue to stimulate play and in turn uplift cash box.
Do B4s have a place in AGC/bingo sites in the face of the success of B3 machines?
We have had a number of entrepreneurial operators that have put traditional B4 into arcade and bingo venues in a bid to offer a different gaming experience for their clients. As of now I have not seen any evidence of those trials being successful. It will always be challenging for an operator to give up a B3 position and replace it with a product with the same stake but a jackpot that is £100 less than the B3 it replaced.