Bacta: cost of living crisis poses challenge for recruitment in UK

Gaming halls are finding it difficult to hire staff.
Gaming halls are finding it difficult to hire staff.

Bacta says arcades and gaming centres are struggling to attract workers amid rising inflation.

UK.- The British Amusement Catering Trade Association (Bacta) has reported that the UK’s seaside gaming arcades and adult gaming centres are struggling with recruitment due to the cost of living crisis. It said that a majority of its members were having difficulty in finding “willing and able employees”.

Some of the members that responded to the association’s survey expressed concerns about the future financial viability of their companies. Asked to rate the difficulty of recruiting staff on a scale of one to 10, with 10 being the most difficult, the average score was 7.2. Results were better when it came to staff retention, with the average score being 3.8.

Inflation in the UK was 9 per cent in the 12 months ending March 31, a figure not seen since the early 1980s. Bacta members scored at an average of 6.9 per cent the challenges this has posed for prices and wages.

Bacta members also reported short-term worries about national insurance rate increases, wage increases and the increasing cost of energy. Most appeared to agree that passing such increases on to customers would merely cause more inflation. 

Bacta CEO John White said: “The resilience of the industry never fails to amaze me, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic when members faced the toughest social and economical challenges of a generation.

“The subsequent cost-of-living crisis now presents new challenges to our members, with soaring energy bills, insurance rates being increased and wages being hiked across the board.

“We are making sure these challenges are being heard by the Government and policymakers across the country. We also want to work closely with our members to help alleviate some of these concerns as best as we can.”

The cost of living crisis has been felt across the gambling sector. Camelot has reported a drop in National Lottery sales, particularly instant win products. Meanwhile, a survey commissioned by GamCare found that frequent gamblers were more concerned than before about their finances.

In March, Bacta updated its safer gambling hub, bactaPortal. The portal allows gambling venues to maintain paperless records of customer interactions and self-exclusions and to host training modules. The portal is available to all, but Bacta members receive a subsidised price.

Version 2 of the portal features a new customer interaction recording solution, self-exclusion, a compliance handbook and compatibility on mobile, desktop and tablet. There are plans to introduce online training, age verification and a business toolkit.

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