It’s a crucial, industry defining 12 months on the agenda for businesses as the Gambling Review, recovery from the Covid fall-out and resetting the entrepreneurial energies come to test the amusements and gaming spirit. At the centre of it all will be trade body Bacta driving the industry’s message home at every opportunity. Coinslot invited National President Greg Wood to voice his New Year’s message to the industry and outline the association’s key focus for 2022.
I would like to wish everyone a very Happy New Year and hope you have all had an enjoyable festive season and are feeling well and rested.
Once again, we start the year with Covid making all the headlines – however – thankfully we are not in lockdown as we were in 2021. That said – our businesses are still feeling the effects, as people are staying home and more restrictions return to Wales and Scotland.
In addition, many are short-staffed at a time when it is already difficult to recruit, I know that this, along with supply chain challenges for our manufacturing members, is causing major headaches.
Just before Christmas we made the announcement to move the EAG show to the beginning of March and given the shockingly high numbers of infections that are still rising, I believe this was the right decision. It is a shame we won’t be able to get together next week but this gives us all more time to prepare and to more accurately assess and counter the risks. Importantly, we hope that everyone will feel more confident in travelling and gathering so that we can really enjoy the show as we have in previous years.
This year we have some really important issues to focus on. In Spring, we will hear the Government’s thoughts on the Gambling Review set out in its White Paper. We are absolutely determined to have our asks heard in this process and that is a major priority. We will of course continue to do our utmost to protect our members’ businesses during the ongoing challenges of the pandemic and to fight for our share of any grants or rebates that are made available to support tourism and hospitality.
Our work on promoting High Street Gaming Centres continues to be of the highest importance. We will ensure that more people understand the quality of the offer and the great work that they do and the importance they place on social responsibility.
We will continue to highlight the crucial need for investment in seaside towns and the vital part played by arcades in providing family entertainment, employment and in maintaining the infrastructure and identity of the seafront.
While we uphold and respect the traditions of our trade, we won’t hesitate to continue to innovate wherever possible. We finished the year by being shortlisted for an award for our bactaPortal and we will carry on making this an invaluable tool for members. In addition, we anticipate an exciting year for our GPT app, designed exclusively for the complex needs of our industry and being widely adopted.
With new staff members Tom Joyce and Russell Edge on board to help propel us forward, we are optimistic as we start 2022 that we can move beyond the current frustrations to explore new opportunities, to reinforce our relationships with policy makers and other important trade bodies, to support your businesses with essential information and help with compliance, to build on player protection measures.
Stay safe and well.