Further written evidence submitted by
the British Association of Pool Table Operators (BAPTO)|
I am making this second submission to the committee
because I sat through both sessions of the oral evidence and there
was not a single question on the machine tie or any reference
to it, to say I was disappointed would be a gross understatement
and it leads me to fear the committee maybe overlooking this issue
and ignoring the unambiguous recommendation of the previous inquiries
that the machine tie be removed. I would like to make the
1. To illustrate how the machine tie not only
allows pubcos to take advantage of their tenants but also allows
them to distort the supply of amusement equipment to their tenants.
I enclose an article published in the Publicans Morning Advertiser
on the 9 June 2011 and a letter sent to "Coinslot" on
the 23 June 2011 both by John Appleton a well respected figure
in the coin machine industry.
Enterprise Inns, Punch Taverns and Marston's are
currently "supply" pushing video AWP's into their tenanted
estates they want total control over these machines and instant
information of machine takings at their fingertips irrespective
of other considerations, the machine tie gives them the power
to do this because this mechanism gives them control over 15,000+
machines far far more than any other player in the sector.
John Appleton fears that the pubcos action could
cost the pub sector around £160 million a year in lost gaming
revenue and lead to further demise in the British machine manufacturing
industry a fear shared by many other people in the industry. To
add insult to injury the pubcos are trying to make a virtue of
the fact that the terms on these machines are (after paying licence
fee & VAT) 1/3 to machine supplier 1/3 to the pubcos and 1/3
to the tenant, Great! The tenant now gets only 1/3 of a machine
that takes less money.
Once again the pubcos abuse the power the machine
tie gives them, without the machine tie video AWP's would have
to go into the market place and compete on a level playing field
against other products which is how it should be.
The pubcos and the BBAPA are always at the forefront
of attempts to increase stakes and prizes on AWP's they have lost
sight of the fact that AWP stands for Amusement with prizes
they want to change them into gambling machines which suits
the video format.
2. Many people in the coin machine supply industry
who would like to see an end to the machine tie are afraid to
speak out because they find themselves in a position where the
pubco business is too big a part of their own business and if
they speak out the pubco will take the business away from them.
This is a similar situation suppliers to supermarkets find themselves
in the massive difference between these two examples is that supermarkets
use their power to drive prices down to their customers
while the pubcos use their power to drive prices up to
3. One of the arguments put forward by the pubcos
and their supporters is that if the machine tie were removed the
tenants when emptying their own machines would under declare the
takings, what a sad state of affairs when to defend a corrupt
system they have to accuse their tenants of being potential "crooks"
perhaps they are judging everyone else by their own standards
and what does this say about all the owners of free houses in
the country. Are the pubcos implying that they are crooks?
4. I have read back over all the evidence facts
and figures we have given to all the pubco enquiries over the
years and those committees after studying all this evidence have
all come to the same conclusion that the machine tie be removed,
I personally feel worn out now and as if all the effort that has
been put in has been a waste of time, it seems to me as if all
the pubcos have to do is do nothing and they will "get away
This issue is a classic example of the strong taking
advantage of the weak and I personally believe if at the end of
the day good does not triumph over evil then we are all wasting
our time here.
27 July 2011
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