Our History

View our history timeline below to trace our fascinating and challenging journey – taking HBL from its North Wales origins to the global business leader it is today.

1927

1927

Harold Burt pictured with wife Edith and daughter Hilary. After being made redundant from his job on the fishing trawlers in Hull, he went into business repairing and later making mechanical amusement machines.

1932

1932

The business opened its first amusement arcade premises in the popular seaside town of Colwyn Bay, North Wales.

1934

1934

A second premises opened in the Royal Arcade, at 82 Mostyn Street, Llandudno. This remains a powerhouse of the business today.

1987

1987

Tim Batstone, the grandson of founder Harold Burt, joined the family business.

1988

1988

New arcades opened. The 5th Avenue in Llandudno, and the Mint in Rhyl.

1992

1992

First partnership games sites at Blackpool Piers and the Tower.

1993

1993

Rebranded as HB Leisure, and the opening of our first park games at Flamingo Land and Rotunda.

1994

1994

First major theme park games partnership signed with Drayton Manor, Tamworth.

1995

1995

First combined games and arcades operation in a theme park at Thorpe Park, Surrey.

1996

1996

HBL won a landmark court case in the House of Lords establishing the legality of ‘trading up’.

1997

1997

First overseas operation in Wonderland Theme Park, Dubai.

2002

2002

HBL partners with the Swiss Expo.

2003

2003

First permanent operation in mainland Europe – Heide Park in Germany.

HBL undertook a funfair in the Global Village event in Dubai, operating 40 rides, 40 games and several arcades.

2004

2004

Partnership with Europa Park, Germany began.

2005

2005

Blackpool Pleasure Beach partnership commences.

2007

2007

Merlin Tussauds Group’s long-term partnership was established.  

HBL expanded into more countries in Europe, and South Africa. 

First games in LEGOLAND – Windsor.

2008

2008

Parques Reunidos partnership established, Warner Madrid, Movie Park and Mirabilandia.

2010

2010

HBL opened in Peppa Pig World, Paultons Park.

2011

2011

First US operation at LEGOLAND Carlsbad, California.

2012

2012

Compagnie des Alpes partnership established in Walibi Holland, Walabi Belgium, and Parc Astérix.

2013

2013

HBL opened in Malaysia.

2015

2015

HBL signed a long-term deal with Gardaland, Italy’s largest park.

HBL’s first partnership in the Philippines.

HBL | Skill Games | Pokemon Prize

2016

2016

HBL signed first major prize IP, Pokémon.

2017

2017

HBL takes on the games at the famous Coney Island, New York.

2018

2018

HBL Central Support relocated to new offices and warehousing in Rhyl.

First locations opened in Ireland, India and Singapore. 

2019

2019

Major events first operated in Saudi Arabia. 

HBL also opened in South Korea and Taiwan.

2020

2020

Major expansion in the USA. 

HBL commences business with SeaWorld Entertainment Inc.

2021

2021

HBL starts operations at the iconic Ain Dubai Wheel. 

Significant UK arcade growth with the purchase of Carousel Amusements in Westward Ho.

2022

2022

Record number of new sites worldwide. 

HBL opens in the first Six Flags property in Georgia.

Further, HBL launched at Universal Studios Singapore, Sunworld Ba Na Hills in Vietnam, Village Roadshow Theme Parks in Australia, and EnergyLandia Poland.

Six Flags

2023

2023

Continuing the success of Six Flags Over Georgia, a further 12 Six Flags sites opened with HBL games in the United States of America.

HBL Electric Carnival Araneta Family Entertainment Centre

2024

2024

Electric Carnival in Araneta officially opens.