The iconic Hippodrome Casino in central London, played host to a distinguished group of industry thought leaders recently for the inaugural Bacta Past Presidents Dinner.
The brain child of the most recent past president, Gabino Stergides, whose Bacta presidency covered the period 2017-2019, the dinner was attended by Frank Manzi (National Chairman: 1977-1979), Martin Burlin (National Chairman: 1987-1989), Jimmy Thomas (National Chairman: 1981-1983), Roger Withers (National President: 1993- 1995), Russell Smith (National President: 1997-1999), Simon Thomas (National President: 1999- 2001), Tim Batstone (National President: 2003-2005) and Nick Harding (National President: 2007-2009).
Reflecting on the landmark event, Gabino Stergides said: “It was a fantastic evening and a great turn-out considering it was the inaugural event and organised at short notice. All of the Past Presidents have next year’s event in their diaries and I’m looking forward to it being a successful and hugely enjoyable annual gathering. We covered the period 1977-2019, the age spectrum was from 38 to 86 years young and over half of those present are still active in the industry. While there was a lot of reminiscing we also spoke at length about the need for an industry White Paper, the importance of coordinating the lobbying efforts between the three main low stake trade associations and of course the revival of the Triennial Review.”
He added: “Gathering together in one room, literally hundreds of years of industry experience created a fascinating forum for frank and honest debate about the UK gaming industry. How many other industries can boast so many experienced individuals who still have the best interests of their industry in their DNA and who are willing to share it with the next generation of operators and managers? The Bacta leaders of 2020 should perhaps consider how best to harness this informal think tank and help the association navigate through what are undoubtedly going to be choppy seas ahead.”