Six Beacon Bingo clubs and 26 ‘Showboat’ gaming machine venues have been purchased, Nick Harding of Praesepe has just rubber stamped the deal to purchase reportedly for a figure of £5m cash and the existing debt owed to the bank by the Beacon Entertainment company of £40m. Nick Harding has a good pedigree having worked in gaming virtually all his working life and is actually an ex employee of the Beacon Bingo group having worked for them in between 1979 and 1981 as Operations Manager for the group in Loughborough. The new acquisition by the company he founded in 2007, Praesepe brings his career full circle and will allow him to lead a company that he clearly has a deep connection with.
Not gambling but entertainment venues
Praesepe currently has the Cashino brand in its portfolio, this is an adult gaming venue which provides slot machine entertainment to the over 18’s that visit. Mr Harding has a rather pragmatic approach to this side of the business and is quoted in an article published in the Times in January as saying that he doesn’t regard the visitors to the Cashino venues as gamblers, but people looking for decent entertainment. He said ‘You come in with your £10, you get your tea, your coffee, you stay for half an hour, and hopefully come out and think that you had a good time. If you go to the cinema you don’t come out and say you lost £20.’
Brian Mattingley joins the group
It is not known yet what the new owners will do to change the existing Beacon Bingo and Showboat group when it finally completes on the 19th April this year, but news on the corporate website states that former Gala Bingo / Coral Director Brian Mattingley will also join the team. Mr Harding says of the new acquisition ‘I think we can now call ourselves a ‘mid cap’ gaming business and I fully intend to forge ahead now with further opportunities in the sector’.