Bacta backs positive outcomes of 50/50 machine ratio

Bacta, the trade association for the UK’s amusement and gaming machine industry, has countered concerns about the “potential proliferation of gaming machines on the high street” due to the ‘50/50 machine ratio’ proposed by the Gambling Review’s White Paper. 

Responding to the government’s White Paper on Gambling Reforms, Bacta has unveiled new research that details the positive consumer and environmental outcomes of the proposed 50/50 machine ratio.

Currently under consultation, the White Paper proposes to shift the existing 20/80 ratio to a 50/50 ratio for bingo and arcade venues (Adult Gaming Centres). This adjustment will enable bingo clubs and Adult Gaming Centres to provide up to the same number of category B machines as they do for category C or D machines.

As a result, the association asserts that the 50/50 machine ratio will diminish the overall quantity of machines in Adult Gaming Centres (AGCs) and Bingo Clubs, leading to a subsequent decrease in electricity demand at these venues.

According to a non-attributable survey of Bacta members, the new ratio is projected to result in a 10% decline in Category C machines and a 20% decrease in Category D games, infills, and tablets.

Despite the significant reduction in machine presence, the data also predicts a compensatory 9% growth in the number of B3s – approximately 900 machines – within the AGC environment.

Backing the proposed changes, Bacta’s CEO John White stated: “Different businesses will behave in different ways in response to their customers’ needs. But we are not foreseeing a future with tablet arcades where the only machines on display are B3s.

“We anticipate further reductions in overall numbers as machines reach obsolescence and the lack of player demand makes retaining them uneconomical. A decrease in machine numbers will lead to reduced demand for electricity, which is favourable news for both operators and the environment.” 

As industry consultations continue, Bacta emphasised its commitment to advocating for its members’ interests, representing the amusement and gaming machines sector with empirical evidence to ensure its voice is heard and the best possible outcomes are secured.