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INTERNATIONAL NEWS

BELGIUM

ELO has developed a ‘new and unique touch technology’ – Acoustic Pulse Recognition.  Elo told InterGame: “APR technology combines the best of other touch technologies, providing a whole new set of benefits that were only partially achieved before.  Elo is initially launching APR poker technology directed at the retail and restaurant point of sale market.  Elo’s 1529L 15ins desktop touch monitors will be available for purchase from autumn.

UK

MAGGI and Maggi UK, whose parent company is in Milan, Italy, has moved into larger premises in Bolton, UK.  The cash handling expert has employed more people and increased its product range.  Its new operation is a 7,000sq.ft purpose-built facility that replaces its previous three smaller buildings.  This enables the firm’s engineers to produce its cash handling devices, processor units and power supplies for AWPs more efficiently.

HUNGARY

GAMEXPO, September 12-14, 2006, has a new venue.  In last few years, Avex-Team, the organizer, had found it difficult to fit all exhibitors into the Syma Hall.  Thankfully, the Syma building now has three new pavilions ad has been re-named the Syma Sport and Event  Centre.  Gamexpo, will be held in its largest pavilion, the ‘A’ Hall.  Its size is 8,000sq,m with 7,300 sq.m. usable exhibition space.

POLAND

DESPITE e-gambling being forbidden in Poland, it is being advertised by a Polish football star.  Celtic’s Maciej Zurawski became the face of Bet24’s ad campaign in June.  In Poland, however, using the portal is illegal and punishable by up to two year’s imprisonment.  “This is also breaking the fiscal code,” said Tomasz from the appealing public prosecutor’s office in Wroclaw.  With thanks to www.e-play-pl.

SEGA JAPAN’S PLUSH RANGE IS US-BOUND

SEGA Japan has announced new Disney plush and plastic toys for cranes, amusement centres and redemption locations in the US.  Sega Corporation has held the Disney license to manufacture plush and toys in Japan for over 10 years, and now the US market can look forward to similar unique styles of beloved Disney Characters for their amusement locations.
      Crane operators can look forward to fresh and new collectible series each month, featuring creative styles, colours and a few surprises.  Another perk for operators is Sega’s Automatic Plush Shipment Plan, where cases are automatically sent each month, thus taking out the guesswork and pressure associated with having to order enough merchandise month to month.  Disney Consumer Products commented on having Sega poker amusements USA on board.  “Sega is a leader in developing high quality prizes for the skill crane market and we are proud for the skill crane market and we are proud to have them producing and distributing plush and plastic prizes featuring our Disney characters in this growing business,” said Catherine Bachmaier, North American  director of toys.  “We look forward to growing this business together.”

      The top-notch quality and clever designs are probably the most compelling features of the new plush.  Snuggle Plush attaches two best friends (like Bambi and Thumper) together in one piece.  The Flavor of the Month series boasts Mickey and friends in never before seen colours.  Round Bottom characters have a fun ‘wobble’ characteristic because they have no feet.  Each month, Sega will release three different sizes, conducive to every type of crane: keychain plush, 6ins-9ins medium plush, and 13ins-15ins jumbo plush.
      The new Disney line announcement comes at an especially fortuitous time.  It is scheduled to release right in line with the company’s new UFO Catcher, a brand new crane machine that is “out of this world.”  Sega UFO Catcher is a two-player cabinet that comes with three different claw sizes to pick up different sizes of plush, and a stable, steady.  A special plush programme and even exclusive pieces will be available for Sega UFO Catchers operators only.  “Our Disney Plush Sega UFO Catcher have experienced  success at our test sites,” remarked Dave Cane, VP of merchandise sales.  “The response when we debuted both at the ASI Show in Chicago in March was incredible.”

 

Max Box kiosks taken by UK supermarket chain

UK supermarket chain Kwik Save has chosen to adopt Felix’s Max Box digital kiosks as part of a wider makeover of many of its UK stores.  Kwik Save, which earlier this year was acquired from some field by BBTF, currently has over 180 stores nationwide.  The Max Box is an interactive kiosk that includes an ATM (which also dispenses sales promotion vouchers), mobile phone top-up and mobile downloads (ringtones, wallpapers and games), instant digital photo-printing, free customer broadband (via Wi-Fi) and Felix’s unique Everyone’s A Winner redemption vending system.


      Kwik Save views The Max Box as exactly the type of added value customer offering that will appeal to its customer needs.  This will allow customers to utilize the benefits of The Max Box while shopping locally. The fact that The Max Box delivers customers a range of on demand digital retail services, and yet takes up very little floor space, is also one of the key factors that attracted Kwik Save to Felix’s consent.
      The Max Box was first launched in the UK in January this year, and Felix have been in negotiations with operators from a wide variety of sectors with regard to a national rollout of kiosks.  Within retail, Felix has had a good reaction from the convenience sector, including garage forecourts, newsagents and mini-marts but Kwik Save is the first significant retailer to embrace the Max Box and plans to have over 100 installed across the country by the end of 2006.


      One  of  The Max Box’s most powerful applications is Everyone’s A Winner, which guarantees all participants a ‘prize’ worth double their outlay every time they use it- and offers  thousands of discounted offers from third party suppliers.  Meanwhile, Felix Corporation’s Max Box has been named as this year’s Most Innovative poker Product at EN magazine’s Entrepreneur 2006 Awards.

Western European NEWS

IMA SHOW TO RETURN TO GERMANY IN 2007

After several months of indecision, one of Europe’s premier trade shows has a new date set.  IMA will be held in Dusseldorf on January 16-18, 2007.  The big German show, which has strong international characteristics, attracting many visitors from central and eastern Europe, was not held in 2006.  The German street market was at last given a new set of regulations to update its ageing AWP legislation towards the end of 2005.  It was immediately recognized that the January 2006 slot for the show would be inoperable as machines for the new legislation would have to pass the PTB testing process and none would have been dealt with by that date.

      Initially, it was hoped to run a show in mid-summer, but the processing of AWPs was never going to achieve a rate to provide a meaningful  display and the potential dates became too close to the January 2007 slot.  Exhibitors were given the opportunity to vote for a city venue, as the previous location, Nurnberg, was not popular.  Eventually Dusseldorf came out just ahead of Cologne as the popular choice.
      Many German operators visited the London ATEI in January of this year with no IMA show but the organizers, Reed Exhibitions, do not expect that this will have damaged IMA for 2007.  The new venue and the new regulations for Germany should give the show its strongest representation for many years.  It is also expected that the uplift in the German market from the new law will result in many international poker companies taking an interest in the German domestic scene, so the number of foreign exhibitors should be considerably increased.

 

European gambling briefing creates debate

One hundred and fifty gaming professionals gathered for Clarion ATE’s second annual European Gambling Briefing in Brussels, Belgium, recently.  The scene was set for two days of debate as industry players both for and against greater gaming controls came together.  Wes Himes, chair on day one, opened the conference with the remark that at the moment there is an ‘unprecedented change in the legal scene in Europe.’  He then introduced the day’s opening speakers, Jacques Toubon and Christofer Fjellner, both MEPs who have a strong interest in the gaming issue.
      The following two days  saws 35 speakers talk on a range of gambling issues, including country specific case studies on Italy, Malta, Netherlands, Germany and the UK, plus an update on emerging eastern European markets.  There was also a look at the growing issue of competition law in the context of gaming and how this might be the newbattle ground for lawyers representing private operators.
      An industry first at the conference was the chance to hear from the Swiss Institute on its completed Draft Report on the Study of Gambling.  Martin Sychold, project manager of the Study of Gambling Services in the EU Internal Market highlighted that there is still much to be learned before definite conclusions are reached in this complex and controversial sector.  Day two brought together passionate voices from both sides of the arguments for or against greater liberalization and cross-border competition in the European gambling sector.  Regulators, trade bodies and operators each had the chance to present their views.


      Partick Partouche, CEO of Groupe Partouche, expressed the view of many private operators around Europe when he encouraged regulators, especially from markets such as France, to attend EGB in the future to explain why tightly run land-based businesses were not allowed the freedom to grow online alongside state-run operations.  EGB also saw a focus on the business implications of regulatory conflict and legal challenges, with sessions on the business opportunities for operators in different European sectors., in all sectors from betting to casino to online.  Growth areas such as bingo and lotteries also received attention.

 

Suzo Happ Group acquires Mazzco

Happ has acquired Mazzco, a major parts distribution company within the amusement, vending, billiard and gaming poker industries since 1984. The combined company is a global leader in manufacture and distribution of amusement and gaming parts and accessories, with nearly 400 employees in 14 locations serving customers in over 80 countries.  Pfingsten Partners is the majority shareholder.

      “This is a another strategic move which will enhance our global leadership position in the amusement and gaming parts and accessories market,” said Jim Norton, managing director of fingsten Partners and chairman of Suzo-Happ Group.  “The continued investment in our business is further evidence of our commitment to exceeding our customers expectations by providing value added solutions to the marketplace,” added Tom Happ, president of HAPP North America.
      “Our success is the result of being responsive to the needs of our customers”, noted Dan Lieberman, president of Mazzco.  “Joining the Suzo-Happ Group will enable Mazzco to continue serving our customers with additional resources provided by their worldwide manufacturing, distribution and service organization.”  Charlie Hines of Suzo International UK concluded: “Although the company is US concluded: “Although the company is US based, it is exciting for us in Europe.  Another Prolific name in the group will allow us access to more exciting product ranges.”

*  Germany In 2005 the compound business volume of the Gauselmann Group companies totaled € 1.4bn, with fully consolidated revenues of € 686m.  At the end of the fiscal year 2005 the headcount of the company was 5.625 worldwide and ever since its inception it has sold more than two million gaming products around the globe.  Almost 500 online poker game developers worldwide work on gaming design, mathematics, graphics and quality management.

Italy  : Trade association SAPAR  has elected Paolo Dalla Pria  as president.  He will be backed up by the following people Luciano Ganatea, Eugene Bernardi, Fabio Pavinelli and Savior Riolo.

 

 

 

 

 
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