With a spare couple of hours at the weekend I decided on a “news catch-up”, having been touring India for the past few weeks, and settled down to World BBC and “The Bottom Line” with a panel made up of Ian Livingston CEO of BT Group; Rupert Gavin CEO of Odeon and UCI Cinemas; and Rooney Anand, CEO of pub retailer Greene King. Hearing how they have each managed to address change, cope with recession and adapt to new technology was a refreshing change from the usual stories of doom and gloom coming from the banking sector.
Greene King and UCI have had to reinvent themselves as “out of home leisure providers”. BTs income from telephony – traditional landlines – is now only 10%; All UCI cinemas are now digital – amazing. Here in the UK at least those businesses have had a chance to develop relatively unhampered by legislation (save the cigarette ban – ouch!) and the whim of a few tabloid editors. Casinos in the UK however, have suffered at the hands of a Government that pandered to the likes of the Daily Mail and has been unable to come to grips with the dilemma of needing tax revenue from an industry that conjures up alternate views of patrons enjoying crystal chandeliers / crystal meth. Hats off then to Simon Thomas and the London Hippodrome staff for continuing to press ahead regardless – we popped in there recently and it is certainly shaping up to be a UK casino landmark development.
GBGC’s view that the UK industry can look forward to sunny uplands (see page24) is welcomed. We hope that the same can be said for the land-based bingo industry which has also suffered in recent years – being viewed by the government as an easy cash-cow. Finally, we have to echo Warwick Bartlett’s plea that the Government takes the chance
to encourage investment rather than stifles it – and that this leads to more stable industry and in turn increased tourism.
More trips are ahead – Peter White is off for some sunshine at Fer Interazar whist we both will be present at the Slot Summit in Hannover in a few weeks time. We hope to see some of you at either event.