How important is the used/refurbished machine market in the UK?
Like the spares and components sector of the market, the used and refurbished segment is often represented as the unsung hero of coin-op. It fulfils a vital role for many locations where capital for investment isn’t always in vast supply and offers a reasonably priced route for operators to update and refresh their machine quota.
How crucial is the market to your company specifically?
The importance of high quality refurbished equipment has not been lost on the team at RLMS Sales. The company prides itself on stocking a wide range of equipment, all of which has been overhauled and reinvigorated to the very highest standards to ensure it will look good in any site.
Are there any specific services that your refurbishment departments offer that you would like to highlight?
Achieving those standards is no mean feat. Hence RLMS has its own dedicated team of refurbishment specialists who know and understand exactly what it takes to get a used product back to its gleaming best and in fine working order. All work is carried out in RLMS’ workshop which has its own spray shop to ensure consistency and quality.
Have you seen any specific products or machine types performing particularly well from your used estate this year?
We sell used products across all machine categories and to every business sector. We hold a comprehensive range of used equipment in stock that is changing daily. The range of used equipment available is variable according to differing factors. New product sales tend to generate part exchanges of the same genre. Hence, if we are selling the latest hi-tech from Bell Fruit Games then we would expect to see a large number of used hi-techs being made available as part exchanges.
This applies equally if we are selling the latest new B3s or lo-tech Cat Cs from Astra and Project in that they would generate used B3 and lo-tech Cat C opportunities. Our most popular range is used Cat C and D, both hi and lo-tech, and that is simply due the fact that those categories are still the highest volume sited product in the UK market. We have also seen an increase in the digital cat C market with customers looking to update their offering, with our available range growing to accommodate our customer requirements.
How can the ability to refresh a machine estate with time-proven units benefit operators?
The earning potential of top quality proven used and refurbished amusement and gaming equipment should never be underestimated. Such equipment can play a vital role for operators looking to add a cost-effective boost to their arcades. There may be periods during the year where an operator might need to refresh the arcade floor with something different, but finds the cost of a brand new piece prohibitive. This is where the already proven second hand option makes perfect sense – just as long as there’s no compromise on quality.
RLMS Sales', Martyn Allsop, is the toast of the Dutch gaming industry after his concept for a trilogy of new low stake machines has become a record breaking reality after he entered a group wide competition run by Novomatic UK to identify big new ideas that would benefit the industry.
Reflecting on his success, which earned him a framed copy of a product advert in addition to £200 of shopping vouchers, the RLMS marketing man said: “Of course I’m delighted that my idea was taken on board and that the machines have been so successful in the Dutch market. The process started at the end of 2016 when the company launched the programme which gave the team the opportunity to pitch ideas to the games designers at Bell-Fruit.
“We have a number of high profile licenses and my focus was to try and make more of the Dark Knight Trilogy which comprised mainly of high tech products. I felt there was mileage in developing low tech versions and rather than combine the characters make separate cabinets one each for Batman, The Joker and Bane. I used my art working skills to mock the idea up and submitted it. It looked like a good concept to me but I had no idea it would go into production and that players would like it so much.
"I approached it from a marketing perspective and I think sometimes it’s important to take a look at something with a fresh pair of eyes. I’m shocked and at the same time really pleased. I’ve been doing a lot of work on our Bulldog range of pushers which has hit the ground running following its launch at the beginning of the year. I’ve got some interesting thoughts that I’m going to put to the games developers, so we’ll see if anything comes from that further down the line!”
Ian Shreeve, Bell-Fruit's Sales and Marketing Director, said: “It’s often said that an organisation’s greatest asset is the people that work for it and I think Martyn’s success proves the point. He approached the task as a marketeer would and saw the opportunity to use a popular license and create a bank of games. The proof is in the pudding and I’m delighted that we’ve demonstrated how valuable it is to draw on the inspiration provided by the team. In fact, we are so pleased with the outcome that we are going to introduce it to the UK market and will be making further announcements in due course."
Bacta President Gabi Stergides and Shafiya Shah, Corporate Account Manager at the Rays of Sunshine charity, were on hand at the recent Park Avenue Open Day to accept a cheque for £1,000 on behalf of the Bulldog Games brand of pusher and redemption equipment. The charitable donation was triggered when Andrew Polloni, of Pastimes in Seaton, Devon, placed an order with RLMS Sales Key Account Manager, Chris Widdowson, for a six player Monopoly, in the process taking the number of Bulldog pusher beds sold so far this year beyond the landmark figure of 1,500.
Tony Glanville, Managing Director of exclusive distributor, RLMS Sales, explained: “We came into Park Avenue knowing that we were close to completing the orders that would take us over 1,500 poker beds since Bulldog was unveiled to the industry at January’s EAG. The RLMS team has been active in the market helping customers to secure their Bulldog equipment in time for the summer season and I am delighted that Andrew placed the order which activated the donation. Rays of Sunshine is a fantastic charity and I’m delighted that the success of the Bulldog Games brand has helped raise a further £1,000."
Manufactured in the UK, the Bulldog Games brand is available on a range of terms and is backed by a comprehensive after sales and technical support service.
RLMS Sales has strengthened its Burton based team with the appointment of Kyle Foster, who joins the company as Internal Sales Executive with responsibility for developing the Single Site customer base. The 20 year old joins the gaming industry having previously worked in Telecoms where he served as an Account Manager.
Tony Glanville, Managing Director of RLMS Sales, said: “Coming from outside our industry Kyle has brought a fresh pair of eyes to the important role of managing our Single Site business. His account management skills will prove invaluable in a sector which is based on forging strong business relationships based on trust and integrity."
Commenting on his introduction to the industry Kyle said: “I have been soaking up a vast amount of information and insight from the extremely knowledgeable team at RLMS Sales, learning about the huge range of products, the technologies involved and the internal procedures which drive the business forward within the Novomatic Group of Companies. I am focussed on growing the RLMS Sales Single Site business and implementing a slew of new ideas to further enhance the customer experience and ensure that we continue to deliver a best in breed, premier service."
Kyle’s direct dial is: 01283 248 217.
Visitors to next week’s Park Avenue Open Day will have the opportunity to trigger a £1,000 donation to the Bacta charity, Rays of Sunshine, courtesy of Bulldog Games exclusive distributor, RLMS Sales. The Bulldog range, comprising eight, six and four position Deal or No Deal and Monopoly, officially licensed pushers, have proved a huge hit throughout the country with RLMS primed to make the donation once it completes the siting of its 1500th pusher bed.
Tony Glanville, Managing Director of RLMS Sales confirmed: “The response when we launched at EAG was so positive that we knew we had the potential to have a strong season with the brand. Since then the orders, which have been secured right across the range, have been both strong and consistent, so much so that we are very close to siting our 1500th pusher bed. Whenever that’s triggered we will make the donation to Rays of Sunshine and there’s every chance that will happen at Park Avenue. The Open Day is part of the fabric of the industry and there’s no doubt it would be fitting for it to host the presentation in front of an audience of Bacta members.”
John White, CEO of Bacta said: “This is a great example of a Bacta member company getting behind the work of the Bacta Charitable Trust in an imaginative way and at an important industry event. Tony Glanville and his wife Sarah have a great association with Rays of Sunshine having run and cycled their way to raising more than £50,000 for the organisation – an amazing achievement that earned them the first Bacta Community Award. It is also fitting that pushers are a uniquely British product which add so much to the family experience of enjoying fun days out at any one of the country’s fantastic seaside resorts.”
RLMS, which will be showing the four player Deal or No Deal at Park Avenue, is offering a number of flexible terms including an option that enables operators to share in the cash box through to the completion of the October half term holidays when they will be given an option to buy. Manufactured in the UK, the Bulldog brand is backed by a comprehensive after sales and technical support service.
Unsurpassed build quality, comprehensive after sales support, flexibility and the play appeal of iconic licenses are the foundation stones of Bulldog Games, Britain’s newest pusher and redemption brand, according to Tony Glanville, Managing Director of exclusive distributors, RLMS Sales. The Bulldog range which comprises the 4, 6 and 8 player Deal or No Deal models, Monopoly 2p Roll Down, Monopoly Skyscraper and Ben Bones, has captured the imagination of coastal operators following a high profile launch at January’s EAG where the brand dominated the headlines and was the talk of the show.
Reflecting on the launch and the subsequent reception enjoyed by Bulldog, Tony Glanville said: “I don’t think that I’ve been involved in a more detailed R&D programme in my 25-year career in the industry. The team led by Peter Collinge, started with a blank sheet of paper and created a brand to the specifications set out by the people who know this business better than anyone else – the seaside operators.” He continued: “We were told that the quality of the build was paramount. As a result the range is engineered and built in the UK in order to be able to deliver a product that has been produced to the highest standards as opposed to one that's supplied in a flat pack format and has travelled many thousands of miles in a shipping container. The second non-negotiable for our customers is after sales and technical support. If a pusher position goes down operators are faced with a huge potential loss of income which is why Bulldog pushers come with a complete spares support kit including the PC, lamps, coin mech and a full set of machine glasses. There’s also a dedicated service support team providing technical back-up and a spares order line which operates 364 days a year on a 24 hour part turnaround. From a sales support perspective it really is the complete package that provides operators with the confidence they quite rightly expect from their suppliers.”
While the media focus has understandably been on the Monopoly and Deal Or No Deal licensed products held exclusively by Bulldog, one of the unsung heroes in the range is Ben Bones which has been developed in-house by the Bulldog Games team. Explaining its appeal Tony Glanville said: “Ben Bones is a visually stunning piece which offers the player a range of experiences and the operator the flexibility in terms of ticket win values and the ability to complement other products in order to maximise bottom line profits rather than cannibalise income from one product to another.
“The Bulldog Games offering is not limited to the delivery of excellent product backed by best of breed after sales support. Driven by a mission to make the brand accessible to the widest market possible we have introduced a range of purchase options which include a revenue share agreement which enables sites to operate Bulldog products through to the October half term when they will then be given the option to purchase. It’s a compelling offer which underlines the confidence that we have in the Bulldog portfolio."
Bulldog Games MD on why it always pays to listen
Peter Collinge has enjoyed an illustrious career spread over four decades and including senior operating roles at Gamestec, Games Media and Inspired Gaming. As Operations Director at Leisure Projects where he was responsible for a 150 coastal arcade operation, he got to understand the nuances and unique characteristics of the seaside business, a background that has served him well as Managing Director of the industry’s newest redemption brand, Bulldog Games. Unveiled to the industry at EAG in January, Bulldog has enjoyed a spectacular first quarter with sales 86% ahead of forecast. Coinslot spoke to Peter about all things ‘coastal’ and how Bulldog has been making waves in one of the amusement industry's most mature market sectors.
What’s different about operating at the coast?
First and foremost I believe the amount of competition coastal operators face is much greater than that of inland venues. Walk down the seafront at most coastal destinations and there will be ten or more different arcades fighting for the very same leisure pound. As a consequence they have to dress their shop windows and show off their product to a far greater level in order to attract and retain players. It’s not just about being a good machine operator any more: it’s about being an even better marketing and promotions company. Added value is so important, standing out from the crowd, providing a far greater guest experience. That’s not to say the inland venues don’t - there are some fantastic quality offers in the bowling sector where delivering a positive customer experience is also of paramount importance.
You spent a lot of time during R&D talking with FEC operators and listening to their advice – how important was this?
The discussions we had with FEC operators were fundamental to the development of the Bulldog range, both in terms of engineering and game design. A good example would be the time we spent with the highly respected East Coast operator Brian Bell: the advice and guidance he gave us was totally invaluable. People from the Bell Fruit factory from every part of the design and build team spent many hours talking to him, we listened to what could be done better, we learnt from the masters and applied it right through the design and build process. Designing new product and testing, talking to owners, to players, making fine tweaks, learning from our mistakes, keeping an open mind, instilling a culture of continuous improvement - all these factors contributed to the process and helped us to arrive where we are now with what is one of the industry’s most exciting brands and one that’s earning income for our customers.
How much importance have you placed on the quality of the build and after service?
Looking back to my time in operations you never forget the frustrations when machines were out of order and you are left waiting literally weeks for a part to arrive on a 'slow boat from China'. Because of this, it was very important to me to ensure the machines we manufacture here in the UK are reliable. We all know machines can break down and when they do you need a first class service and spares support. Bulldog pushers come with a complete spares support kit including the PC, lamps, coin mech and a full set of machine glasses. We also have a dedicated service support team who provide technical assistance and a spares order line which operates 364 days a year on a 24 hour part turnaround - so in essence any downtime should be kept to the absolute minimum. We have all experienced the issues that go along with poorly manufactured machines, built overseas, flat packed with poor after sales support. By contrast, Bulldog machines are British designed and manufactured just like the Great British Seaside. We are very proud of that fact.
Post launch how important has it been for you to be at the coal face speaking with operators at the coast. What have you learned?
In essence I learnt what I thought I already knew! Being on site talking to operators, picking up and sharing knowledge is fundamental. No one in my position should lose sight of the fact that operators on the arcade floor know their customers and they know what works and what doesn’t. We listened we learnt, we took the best ideas and worked with them until between us we got it right. Having said that it doesn’t stop there, we continue to talk, we continue to listen and as a consequence we continue to learn. It has and it continues to be an invaluable experience.
Of all the resorts that you’ve been to which ones do you like most and why?
Since January I’ve spent 100 days at the seaside in different resorts. They all have their own unique characteristics and deliver a brilliant customer experience. A walk down the sea front at Skegness brings home just how hard the coastal operators work to provide the very best in family entertainment. It’s unique and I can’t think of anywhere else in the world that you would find anything that’s comparable. As you can probably tell, I’m a massive fan of the British seaside.
Why do you think redemption is so popular?
It’s great competitive fun for all the family. Mum, dad and the grandparents can join in and play as a group, compete against each other and walk away with prizes. You see people walking along a promenade with a giant cuddly toy and a huge smile and you know it’s been a rewarding experience and it has created a memory which the family can share and look back on. Many children’s early memories are from days at the coast with their families doing exactly that - it’s priceless.
What’s the biggest challenge facing coastal operators in 2018?
I’m not sure if the challenges really change from year to year. It’s a fashion industry and you have to keep up with the trends. Redemption in now a core part of every coastal operation. Merchandise is the driving energy behind any redemption operation and it’s the reason that players will visit the venue. You have no control on visitors going to the seaside but once they are there it’s over to the operator to attract the players and keep them by providing a great value for money family experience.
Finally, can you summarise the appeal of the Great British Seaside Holiday in three words?
Super, Smashing, Great!
The Bulldog Games brand of pushers and redemption equipment, which has reported Q1 sales that are 86 percent ahead of pre-launch forecasts, is being made available to operators on a unique revenue share agreement. RLMS Sales, the exclusive distributors for the Bulldog range, has introduced a ground breaking option that will enable operators to share in the cash box through to the completion of the October half term holidays when they will then be given an option to buy.
Tony Glanville, Managing Director of RLMS Sales, believes the array of purchasing options makes Bulldog a brand that’s accessible to every location and every business type. He explained: “We continue to work very closely with seaside operators and to understand the market dynamics and the contributions that we can make to help maximise profits. Clearly, the most important component part is the development of outstanding product and I’m delighted at the response that we’ve experienced both at EAG when we launched the brand and in the subsequent order book.
"The second area we have focused on is making the range available to the widest audience possible. The revenue share option is a sign of the confidence that we have in Bulldog. After operators have sited our products for the season we believe that having experienced the products on site that they will exercise the option to purchase. Whatever the outcome they will be able to add the energy and dynamism of the industry’s newest pusher brand to their operation without having to make any capital expenditure. It’s a win-win situation which we are delighted to be able to offer. The shares option is one of a number that RLMS has created for the industry. Operators can take advantage of a two year rental agreement with an option to purchase, an HP arrangement which is available over a two year term and a straightforward purchase. The key objective is to make Bulldog a brand to be enjoyed by everyone."
The Bulldog brand is manufactured in the UK and is backed by a comprehensive and detailed after sales and technical support which has been developed to keep machine downtime to an absolute minimum.
Bulldog Games the pusher and redemption brand that was unveiled to the industry at EAG, has enjoyed a stellar launch with sales 86% ahead of forecasts. The figures cover the first quarter of 2018 and relate to sales of Bulldog’s 4, 6 and 8 player Deal or No Deal models, Monopoly 2p Roll Down, Monopoly Skyscraper and Ben Bones.
RLMS Managing Director, Tony Glanville, whose team is responsible for distributing the Bulldog range in the UK, believes the brand has brought a new zest and energy to what is a mature market. He said: “The response we received from operators at EAG was nothing short of phenomenal and I’m delighted to confirm that the enthusiasm for the Bulldog brand has been sustained and is evident in the order book.
“Bulldog is the result of an extensive and in-depth R&D process which has drawn on the experience and insight gained by consulting with many of the industry’s most knowledgeable and respected FEC operators. Their thinking and vast experience has inspired the brand and it’s that level of attention to detail, the quality of the build – which is exclusively UK-based – and the appeal of exclusive licenses that are instantly recognisable which explain what are fantastic and highly encouraging figures.”
RLMS Sales are buoyant heading into summer with their Bulldog brand delivering a fresh perspective in a very traditional environment. Tony Glanville explains why the seaside sector is the place to be over these
Both for yourself, and the wider scope of the industry, how important are coastal operations?
They are hugely important and for a number of reasons. The coast represents the foundations of the modern amusements and low stake gaming industry and for many people their first contact with a piece of amusements equipment will have taken place at the seaside. Ask the man or woman in the street to describe an inland AGC and they will probably struggle but ask them to describe a seaside arcade and the response will be totally different. The seaside is one part of the amusements landscape that really resonates with the population something which probably goes right back to childhood holidays. As a company we spend a lot of time at the coast and following the launch of the Bulldog brand that level of commitment has increased even further. Bulldog managing director, Peter Collinge, led the R&D team which drew heavily on the experience of seaside operators who know the sector inside and out. We have continued that approach in the marketing of the product range and I am a huge believer in really understanding the personalities, the businesses and the market sectors that we are selling into. None of this is possible unless you spend time in the environment and experience it first hand.
Have you seen any particular products, or product types finding success ahead of this summer?
RLMS are exclusive distributors for the Bulldog range and we’ve been party to the really extensive and in-depth R&D commitment that has defined the brand. The key factors that set the Bulldog brand apart are the contributions and insight made by leading seaside operators, the quality of the all British build, the after sales commitment, the strength of the Monopoly and Deal Or No Deal licenses that are exclusive to the brand, the range of terms that we are able to offer and the commitment and backing of Novomatic UK. It’s a formidable list of features which are striking a chord with operators and which explain our really strong Q1 sales figures which are 86% ahead of forecast.
Is the British seaside in the midst of a comeback? If so, what do you feel has driven this?
I would say most definitely so. People experience their leisure time in a variety of ways and are no longer locked into the concept of a fortnight away. Day trips or weekends at the coast are becoming increasingly popular and resort economies are tapping into this. The ‘staycation’ is a reality and not just a marketing term. From an amusements perspective the market has experienced a period of consolidation and the upshot has been a quite dramatic raising of standards. Operators at the coast work hard and they work smart. There’s a dedication to the business, a pride in the resort in which the businesses are based and a real professionalism in the ways in which they market themselves as part of an amusements/tourism proposition. There’s no doubt that coastal operators define the Great British seaside holiday and we are proud to be making our own contribution to that institution.
The umbrella term of coastal operators covers a wide variety of premises, both geographically and in terms of offering, how important is it to have a flexible portfolio to accommodate this?
We’ve been very conscious of the need to create a portfolio of products that suit all locations and business types. We have delivered that by creating games of various sizes from Ben Bones, which has a footprint of two AWPs through to the eight player Monopoly and Deal Or No Deal pushers which serve as really powerful centrepiece attractions. The second way that we have addressed this is by offering terms which meet the needs of operators including a revenue share option. There are only two areas that we refuse to budge on and that’s the quality of the final product and an unstinting commitment to after sales and technical support.
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