How to reduce the risk of being a victim of Gaming Machine theft
The number of thefts from gaming machines appears to be on the rise again in recent months and so pubs and clubs are advised to be vigilant.
Organised gangs are targeting gaming machines with a view to stealing cash from them.
A method used by the gangs is to have a group of three to six people standing around the machine, appearing to use it in the normal way. They then block the view of the machine from staff whilst the theft is occurring.
Another tactic could be to have one member of the gang distract the bar staff or door staff whilst the theft is performed.
In many cases, it is not apparent that a robbery has occurred until well after the gang has left the premises, as they also conceal all visible signs of forced entry and take care to act like an ordinary customer.
In May, it was reported that a gang of 4 males had targeted a pub in Ross-on-Wye. One of the gang went over to the machine, inputted notes and took out coins. They then walked away and the remaining three gang members walked over to the machine. An alarm was heard briefly & then all four men left the pub. The slot where you put notes into the machine had been removed and money had been taken from the cash box.
There are a couple of simple but very effective ways to protect gaming machines on your premises from theft:
- Vigilance when there are three or more people appearing to be playing on a gaming machine. If you are in any doubt about their intentions, ask them to finish playing any games they’ve already paid for, and then switch the machine off until they have moved on.
- Consider the location of the gaming machine(s). Although the proximity of the machine to the bar will not necessarily deter the thieves, active engagement from staff will. The best way to deter thieves is to make sure they cannot crowd around your machines and obstruct members of staff’s view.
- Consider installing CCTV or ensuring your gaming machines are covered by existing cameras. If your premises are not covered by CCTV, try to ensure the machines are actively monitored. You need to be aware that thieves will try to work out where cameras are, and will attempt to block the view of any recording of their activities.
Local police forces can offer guidance and support on wider crime prevention initiatives. Other initiatives, for example the National Pubwatch campaign (www.nationalpubwatch.org.uk), are also useful sources of information for licensed premises.
Many Insurance policies limit the amount of money held in gaming machines to £500 unless you have specifically requested an increase in this cover. Please check your policy schedule and contact Club Insure /NDML if the cover provided requires review.