Though Mr P’s Classic Amusements Bognor Regis only opened its doors to customers on 16 March, the traditional venue proves that a well-considered offering and a desire to work with the local authority are key to a favourable seafront future.
Mr P’s Classic Amusements has earned a reputation for good quality, fun and traditional entertainment, with its Tonbridge and Chatham arcades recently boosted by the addition of an already popular Bognor Regis venue.
With amusement technology advancing in leaps and bounds as manufacturers target a more technology-savvy audience, Mr P’s owners Amelia and Dave Douglas maintain that there will always be a place for evergreen favourites, especially at the seaside.
“People still love the reels thumping by, something which is very quickly disappearing now as most manufacturers move to digital content,” said the Douglases. “This only cements our niche.”
“With literally thousands of visitors coming to the arcades throughout the year, we are becoming a national attraction, if not already.”
“People still love the reels thumping by, something which is very quickly disappearing now as most manufacturers move to digital content”
However, though the machines may be analogue classics, the digital phenomenon hasn’t passed Mr P’s by, with the owners noting that regular visits from YouTube channels and popular social media arcade enthusiasts have been “a big boost for our brand,” underlining just how significant a demographic there is for classic titles still out there.
With the AWP-only arcade offering such a well-received blast from the past, visitors could be forgiven for wondering just what will happen when the much prophesied ‘Death of Cash’ finally takes hold.
Though aware of the implications, Dave and Amelia note that – contrary to what doom-mongers may predict – the decline in cash will only serve to boost Mr P’s niche appeal even further.
“If cash was to phase out unexpectedly within our lifetime then we would just become an even bigger attraction than we already are, because we would still operate cash as it’s vital for our entertainment package.”
“We would not consider TITO as our customers prefer to see the cash, plus it keeps their winnings more personal.”
The traditional approach to entertainment extends all the way to regulation, something the Douglases observe is not only necessary, but also the first step in securing a meaningful place at the heart of the community.
“Regulation is regulation, we may all moan from time to time about it and quite often it is poorly judged and ill advised, but it’s also vital to our industry. We rely on our regulators to ensure that gambling remains open and fair, for all, the player and the operator. ”
“Most licensing authorities are sensible, they often look at a text format of what they are or not allowed to permit, and every local authority is different. However, we have always been able to deal directly and develop a good relationship with our local authority and this is vital for keeping the business in a good standing.”
The pair also remain philosophical when it comes to the controversial subject of business rates, observing that “if we had no services and enhancements in our town centres that we rely on then we would be up in arms.”
“We all may moan about the costs, especially when the internet is a free-for-all, but we all make money from the towns that we operate from, therefore we must pay into the pot.”