Just back from the EAG show. I’m buzzing! Lots of great discussion, listening and engagement; and digital innovation has taken further steps forward for poor old category C machines.

Category C has taken a bashing over the years but I think there is a will to continue the progress we have witnessed in the pub digital offer over the last 12 months, led by entrepreneurs who have put their cash on the line. Bravo and thanks to them! This is buoyed by some exciting innovation on cashless payments and an understanding the benefits that CITO can crystallise for each party in the supply chain and lest we forget, the player aswell.

For years, I used to visit the show with rose tinted glasses looking at ideas from operators and manufacturers held together with blutack and string, suggestions of what might be and never really seeing many of them fulfil their potential or come to market. They were often tactical , sometimes they were thwarted by politics, or ambushed by naysayers and a lack of budget necessity at the time, and yes, belligerently, a feeling of historic invincibility in the sector never generated enough desire. Of course, we were subsequently well and truly whacked by casinos, LBO’s, pub closures and the inexorable march of online gambling.

This time it feels different, There’s a willingness. Dare I say it, a unity of vision?

We are actively progressing the goal of a single, cost effective comms platform for gaming in pubs and thanks to everyone who has offered their support in the form of gaming terminal hardware to test. If there are interested retailers who would like to know more about this please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

It’s hearts and minds next. The short sighted glasses wearers who have never seen a pair of rose tinted glasses in their lives need to consider changing their prescription. Cashless and CITO need bringing to market and everyone needs 20/20 vision to get them over the line. Just because things may have seemed blurred in the past and we have not had clear, unequivocal adoption of CITO, the world, the player and technology have all moved on and with new focus we can bring these ideas to fruition as an industry.

It’s also going to need a combination of education and attrition, probably in equal measure, for all of us to collectively deliver a new way of working and change the long standing, ritual pub gaming procedures, and it will be a new experience for many in the supply chain as the roles and responsibilities of individuals in the supply chain will inevitably change. As long as it is win:win:win:win for everybody and not a compromise for anyone, cashless and CITO will happen.

I’ve taken off my rose tinted glasses and swapped them for an ordinary pair. It’s helpful that my affliction is long sightedness, not that I can see into the future, but I can see the next corner in the distance and I am sure that around it is a solid comms platform, cashless transactions and CITO for the pub sector.

Invigorated by a new feeling of confidence, I think I might even give my sunglasses a clean. There’s not been much use for them over recent years in the UK category C gaming market and the sunny climate has certainly not been in our favour, but if we grasp these opportunities we might just get caught in the glare of success!

Russell Wood, Director, Waypoint Leisure Limited