As the war on cash continues to be successfully waged, a new minister heading up the DCMS represents a fresh chance for the industry to put its case forward, argues Sam Spencer.
At the end of this month a court case will decide whether ATMs inside shops will be classed as independent premises, and if so, they will become taxable for business rates. While the case is between big supermarkets and the government, if the Daily Mail is to be believed it is high street retailers that will suffer the most. The consequences of this case, which will probably be decided over another year by the Supreme Court, could have a drastic effect on both cash-reliant operations and also operations with cash machines. Unfortunately, many business int the amusements industry tick both of these boxes – but they shouldn’t have to.
It’s 2018; cars are driving on their own, artificial intelligence reminds me to buy my mum a birthday present, and computers are the size of debit cards – but the amusements industry still can’t use one. It’s a ridiculous predicament, and it’s one the new minister at the DCMS needs to be made extremely aware of. He may not be “tech savvy”, but he is a lawyer, so he will at least be logic-savvy. And there has never been any logic to prohibition. The concept of prohibition comes from fear – either fear of the unknown, or fear of not being able to deal with the regulatory challenges involved with legalisation. As an industry, we need to make sure that Jeremy Wright knows that making decision out of fear is outright unacceptable.
Because cashless is coming, whether we like it or not.