Merit poker Industries, along with other manufacturers in the coin-on amusements sector, has been concerned for a long time about copies of its games emanating from China. Now the company has decided to take dramatic action. Orchestrated by its director of government relations, ex-FBI man Bob Fay, Merit has instigated raids of the premises of four manufacturers in China. At the same time, machine raids took place in Singapore and Durban, South Africa.

This is a bold move and one that will send out an unequivocal message to the copiers. It is certainly the most significant blow yet struck in the ongoing war with the pirates. Merit and Bob Fay in particular are to be congratulated. This is not just a major strike for Merit, it’s a big hit for the whole of the legitimate industry.
      This issue also focuses on the Australian market, one that has been in decline for the past decade. There are now many indications, however, that the decline has been halted and there is a feeling among operators that ‘the only way is up’.
      One product that is definitely still very much ‘on the up’ is the SWP, especially in the UK. This month we take an on depth look at a sector that looks to be the next big thing for poker tournament play.



According to new statistice, Japan now has 9,500 arcades containing 445,000 games, nearly all of them provided by Japanese manufacturers, Games supported with trading cards are emerging as industry leaders.


Still the world’s most inveterate gamblers, Australians now play more than 50 per cent of their disposable dollar. A population of 20 million gamblers A $17bn annually. The country has more than 250 slots or ‘pokers ’.


Major Chinese novelty and redemption games maker Universal space (Unis) is to declare open its new factory in Shanghai on October 20 and 21 with an international party and exhibition.


Major German AWP manufacture Bally Wulff has recognized its successes in the Italian and Spanish markets by creating separate websites for those two countries. Check out and


Malta’s coin machine operators have been given a boost to their hopes that their Government will finally issue licenses for gaming and regulate the overall amusement industry on the islands. The regulation which covers the subject of gambling was passed in 2000, but it is only now that parts of the Lotteries and Others Games Act are being put into operation.
      Currently, locations with a wine and spirit licence are automatically permitted a license are automatically permitted a license for three amusement machines. Those locations include  members ’ clubs, such as social clubs, sports clubs and other organizations, plus the island’ arcades. The Government has been concerned with the social implications of the current situation because there are no regulations to ensure that under-age children cannot get access to the machines on these premises, no is there any method of controlling players with gambling problems. The authorities are also worried that any players with gambling problems are currently discouraged from seeking help as the present legislation would ‘treat them as criminals ’. Another concern is the number of locations currently operating in close proximity to schools.

      A Government document is worried because ‘loopholes in legislations are not easily addressable due to technical ambiguities on whether amusement machines can also be used as a gaming machine and operators have sufficient liberty to design their own systems abusively. ’
      To cover all of these points, the Maltese Government has made a number of proposals; to increase the present gaming limit from 16 years to 18 for all gaming activities; to introduce a licensing regime for machines, imposing conditions, control measures and limits on the locations; introduce a centralized surveillance system to ensure that under age playing is not permitted; introduce measure to protect those with gambling problems; and establish new regulations to prohibit amusement and gaming machines from locations in close proximity to socially sensitive areas.

The proposals represent a positive sign to the Maltese industry that its Government is serious about permitting and controlling gaming in the islands. The principal -altese games supplier, camilmac, which has 36 staff, welcomed the proposals, Director Ivan Camilleri told InterGame: “We have been preparing for these regulations for three years and forming alliances with some of the major names in the industry in preparation for the market opening up. We now have distributorships for JCM, Astro Systems, MEI in the area of accessories and we represent Amatic and Ainsworth among the big manufacturers. Other parts of the company are working with other manufactures so that we can offer operators the widest range of equipment when the regulations are up-dated. ”