For decades now, bars and pubs across the UK have featured one incredibly common sight – a glowing, pulsating slot machine located somewhere near the back of the bar, usually with somebody stood making use of it.
Slot machines (often known as fruit machines here in the UK) quickly became such an integral part of the pub and bar experience that you’d be shocked if you didn’t encounter one. Today, however? Well, they’re in decline somewhat.
In 2017 it was found that annual takings from fruit machines had fallen by an estimated £600m in the previous decade and, increasingly, bar owners are opting not to install slot machines in their establishment.
It’s a decision which flies in the face of popular bar logic. Slot machines are still reliable earners, right? Well, yes. But they’re facing some large challenges. Here’s why they may not be right for your pub.
Slots Have Gone Mobile
Not too long ago now, before the birth of the online casino boom, encountering a slot machine was a rare joy, like playing a game of pool. However, in a world where online casinos offer hundreds – if not thousands – of unique online slots like Beavis and Butthead, Mystic Wheel and Deal or No Deal, with several boasting immersive themes and familiar names, the novelty of a single fruit machine is wearing off for punters.
After all, why stand up when you can play directly on your phone, wherever you are? As the bar experience continues to trend towards social experiences, expect to see fewer and fewer slot machines.
Slot Machines Take Up Valuable Floor Space
We don’t need to tell you that any smart bar makes the most of its floor space and, increasingly, accounting for a large slot machine and its required standing space makes less sense than ever before.
Revenue from physical slot machines is falling and if you can fit another table into a place where you may install a slot machine, the odds are in your favour to pull in more revenue from alcohol and food sales than you may otherwise.
Bar Games are Increasingly Social
Whether it’s a quiz machine that your customers gather around or board games which keep tables occupied for hours at a time, bar games are increasingly moving towards social experiences.
Why? Well, the more people you can get to sit at a table for a few hours, the more product you’re likely to move. Board games may not bring in revenue on their own, but their inherent entertainment value more than outweighs any shortcomings – and they bring more customers in, too.
Slot Machines Can be Expensive
You only need to look at the statistics around bar and pub closures in the UK to know that we find ourselves in a challenging environment. A quarter of the UK’s pubs have closed since 2001 and it’s no guarantee that any establishment can keep up with rising running costs.
It’s why many bars and pubs are making necessary cutbacks and, increasingly, dodging the high costs associated with buying newer slot machines. Costing around £4,000 new, slot machines are an unclear value proposition for small, fledgeling bars. So, will you be investing in a slot machine for you