Tony Glanville knows his stuff when it comes to B3s and now he’s looking for a bit of ‘theatre and entertainment’ for the punters. They want ‘bigger’ and ‘glitzy’, he says, which is lucky given that RLMS Sales have gone right down that street.
How have you perceived the performances of B3 machines and how important is the category to the industry?
There’s absolutely no doubt that B3 is the key income driver for AGCs the length and breadth of the country. It’s a classic 80/20 scenario in which 20 percent of product generates around 80 percent of income. Clearly B3s on the high street continue to face an uphill battle to compete with FOBTs and we share our customers misgivings over the proposed delay in implementing the £2 maximum stake for FOBTs. Players have migrated from AGCs to LBOs,a drop in footfall which impacts the industry throughout the supply chain. We shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that every high street retailer across every sector needs to provide its customers with the key ingredients of variety and choice and B3’s provide exactly that within what is a broader gaming entertainment proposition. Once the FOBT stake is settled and we return to a level playing field the real significance of Category B3 will come into focus.
What do you see as being the standout products in the market place at present?
I don’t think you can look much beyond the single game Mega Pots from Project, Big Bonus Wheel from Astra and the Novomatic content that’s on VIP Lounge. What they offer is quite distinct and appeals to different segments of the B3 player base.
Are there any developments or innovations that you believe will be pushing the category forward?
Of course players want to be entertained and they are searching for a sense of theatre and excitement from their leisure spend. Big Bonus Wheel captures the ‘theatre of playing’ through its design, the impact it has on site and its aesthetics. The AGC sector has undergone a transformation in terms of the environment and the facilities they provide their customers. The bar has been raised and that also extends to the atmosphere generated by the machine offering. I think the experience has to be ‘bigger’ than before, generated by machines that offer a more glitzy, Vegas style swagger.
As a machine distributor how do you ensure that you keep ahead of the trends and in tune with the market?
The team absolutely has to be out in the field talking to customers and most importantly, listening to customers. That’s the core skill set for a distributor, supported by a strong presence in trade press and at industry events and exhibitions.
How important is it for operators to regularly refresh their B3 offering, be it in units or content?
There are some perennial performers that operators simply can’t replace but like every retail environment the skill is in balancing long established favourites with a pipeline of new experiences. The 20 percent regulation makes this a more difficult task, however there is the choice out there to enable operators to bring variety to their sites and keep the offering fresh and exciting. Looking outside of the industry, McDonalds will always have the Big Mac as the main option but they also refresh the offering with themed menus whether it’s celebrating US Independence Day, The World Cup or The Olympics. In the same way, the AGC machine offering needs to be refreshed whether that’s via a pipeline of new games on a compendium or a new stand alone offerings. This is the entertainment business and modern consumers expect to be entertained every step of the way and if they’re not they vote with their feet