Investing in variety and environment

Mark Jepp Majestic Bingo EAG Alphamax
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With investment secured for upcoming improvements across Majestic Bingo’s 16- strong club estate, managing director Mark Jepp explained his plans to implement a wide variety of machines – including Cat C analogue and digital – into carefully laid out machine environments.

 

Majestic Bingo is preparing a wave of investment across its estate as the company looks to take its machine offering to the next level, with Cat C to play a “significant role”.

Managing director Mark Jepp has been drawing up the blueprints for improvements to the operators retail venues, tailoring each machine area to the requirements of its respective club. The company’s venues range from retail parks to former cinemas, so what works for one will not necessarily work for another. Indeed, this is also true when it comes to machines and players, with Cat C in particular throwing up some challenges for operators.

“Cat C can be a challenging market, for example we have customers who have only ever played legacy machines and they are hesitant to try new products,” explained Jepp. “For these players, the new reel-based machines are often too different because they have been designed under new regulations, and then the digital products are another challenge for them altogether. It’s a complex market with many different types of customers, but it’s one that has a significant role to play at Majestic.”

Proof of this has been the remarkably strong performance of a reel-based Cat C analogue machine that Jepp brought in 18 months ago, and as a result he is looking at bringing more of the sort into the mix.

“We’ve got a club where SG Gaming’s Triple 8 is the top performer, as it is across all our clubs, but close behind is a reel-based analogue Cat C machine that we bought about over a year and a half ago – which is Batman from Astra,” Jepp continued. “A lot of manufacturers are turning their focus to digital, but we’ve shown, particularly with that Batman model, that if you get the game right the demand is there. I’m talking to Astra now about Austin Powers and Sherlock Holmes, as we’ve shown there is definitely an audience for reel-based analogue Cat C machines.”

There is also a big audience at Majestic for community games, particularly as bingo players often migrate over to machines at specific times. Last year Jepp brought in Alphastar from Blueprint to answer that demand.

“We often see community driving footfall, and it’s particularly good for bingo as you get that critical mass of people,” he added. “The Cat C digital Alphastar is getting traction because that has great community games, but also the clever thing with that model is that players can enjoy community across different games with one another. Another digital machine I’m quite excited about is Prismatic, particularly the Low Boy model. There is a place for analogue, but digital is pushing the market forward and if there’s a strong product out there, that is also a bit different, it’s something we will be looking at. Astra have shared some good numbers from testing, so I’m really looking forward to hearing more.”

While Jepp can’t wait to bring in more well-designed Cat C machines for his customers, he is also aware of the fact that the market could do with a regulatory boost. A lack of tech standard changes and stake and prize movement has held back any significant progress, and with the current regulatory climate Jepp is concerned this may remain to be the case. However, as all business leaders must, Jepp is planning Majestic’s future around factors he can rely on; his experience and the industry’s varied array of proven product.

“As I build some of these machine areas around our estates, it’s not just about B3, it’s about getting the mix right, and Cat C and Cat D will both have their place,” he concluded. “People play machines for different reasons, and we have to cater to all of those. In my old machine manager days, I was always the one pushing for something a bit different; it’s about providing customer choice, and presenting that choice in a layout that is obvious to players. I’m quite relishing getting into the detail of our plans and to make sure we take our clubs to the next level. While we have some cash to spend, it s so important we invest it in the right way. It’s not just about the right product, it’s about building the right environment.”


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