The wait is finally over for UK Casino goers as the 24hr rule is abolished and games increased .

October saw the back of one of the most contentious gaming rules ever created, the UK’s 24hr membership rule, whereby players where given a days cooling off period before they could enter a casino in the British Isles. Imposed in 1968, its abolition has seen a sure of first-time customers to casinos, with 100,000 more visits to the country’s 138 casinos. It’s further estimated that this will translate into 250,000 new casino-goers in a year, and the rise comes ahead of a huge expansion in the number of casinos, with 17 new sites opening in 2009 and applications for a further 40 new casinos likely to be approved within months. In addition to the abolition of the 24hr rule, casinos can now increase their slot machine quota from 10 to 20. As a result, Novo Gaming UK, subsidiary of Austrian Gaming Industries (AGI) is already delighted with the substantial share of the business that its new range of games has generated. With a current total of eight titles in the British Novomatic range, players ’ tastes have been accommodated and each game has the potential of being fully upgraded to the very latest £4,000 jackpot, an increase from £ 2,000 which was the previous limit. The demand for the AGI range has been exceptional and has emanated from the entire casino sector including independent operators through to the big four multiple casino operators.

Most of the early deliveries were made in good time for the October 1, legislation which heralded the increase in machine numbers and almost all operators strictly targeted the date for installations. Jens Halle, AGI’s managing Director commented: “We were  anticipating substantial sales of machines to satisfy the early demand that legislation would generate, however, the degree of business that has materialized has been exceptional. I am delighted with the outcome so far and than our customers for the confidence they have again shown in our products. We always aim to develop games with the players ’ tastes in mind and this has again paid dividends in satisfying this new demand for machines. ” The AGI share of the casino market in the UK is impressive and reflects the attitude that the company has towards markets worldwide. AGI was probably the first to introduce a full specification random slot machine to the British market several years ago. This new direction developed into a big & small success and the change in player and operator preferences has paved the way for the transformation of the machine base within the market in the UK. Novo’s director of sales and marketing was equally enthusiastic: “British casino operators appear to have been very comfortable in ordering large numbers of machines from us based on those factors. These new games are already performing very well and we expect further enthusiasm from the £ 4,000 jackpot. ”

Harry Levy promotes its broad Preview portfolio

Despite being a supporter of Chelsea, Gary Newman of Harry Levy is, unlike his football team, exceptional value for money. And at the London   Preview, the presented us with no less than six new products and continued  to promote his personal crusade that the priority of this industry should be to earn a long-term living by providing “fun ” and “entertainment ”. ‘Chameleon Paradise’ is a two-player redemption unit with a ‘knockout ’ punching theme. The graphics are great, the sound s hilarious and it is great fun. ‘Basket Fever’ is a nine-hoop hybrid  of basketball and bowling that young kids and teenagers in entertainment centres will love. As we might expect from Harry Levy’s stable, the other four new games are all pushers. ‘Sweet Candy ’ is a great looking eight-player round option;‘Knobble Knights ’ is a long 12- player option and ‘Broadway ’ is a long decked six-player. All good stuff, part of the operator’s staple diet. But the star of their show is the single-player ‘Casino Poker’.   Unable to avoid the rampant popularity of the gaming theme, the first coin rolls a set of poker dice with wins dropping coins onto the pay table. A second feature sees the player spinning a set of ‘OXO’ video reels to win ‘chips ’  that are used to play vedeo poker to win coin splashes. This is fun too, and unobtrusive. As Gary Newman explains : “Games like Section 16 and 21 can earn large weekly incomes, and have a definite place. But how long does or will it last?  Entertaining redemption pieces and pushers may not earn as much in the first month, but they continue to earn consistently over many years. This is our specialization and it definitely has a strong place within the mix. ”

*  According to Alan Rogers, Director of Sales and Marketing at Astra Games, the Preview 2006 exhibition in London was ‘a resounding  success,’ with the company’s newly launched Section 16/21 UK game ‘Reel King’ one of the event’s major successes. The game introduces some of the most innovative and entertaining graphics ever seen on a Section 16 games, marrying the proven ‘Slotto’ game play with a series of novel hidden, dynamic features Mr.. Rogers is confident that ‘Reel King’ will replicate the success of its illustrious predecessors. “Party Games Slotto’ was an explosive product and we wanted to maintain this progression. Our design team has certainly achieved this objective with ‘Reel King’ and its strong early sales already suggest a similar impact. ” Also launched at Preview by Astra was a new two-player version of their Section 16/21 multi-player ‘Megaslot ’, known as ‘Megaslot Club’. Launched at ATEI 2005, ‘Megaslot ’ was the UK’s first video-reel Section 16/21 game and went on to be one of the outstanding games of 2005. Mr. Rogers explained the rationale: “Operators found that although they had success with four-player ‘Megaslot ’, some gaming areas are more suited to two-player player machines. The reduced footprint allows these smaller areas to be based around a Section 16/21 centre piece, a stratagie that is becoming increasingly popular. ” ‘Megaslot Club’ is available as both a new-build and as a conversion kit from the original four-player version.

*London Clubs International, the UK-based  casino operator, has been awarded a licence to operate a new casino on a site adjacent to the Empire Cinema in London’s   Leicester Square. The venue, which will include a number of restaurants and bars, will cover more than 40,000sq.ft (3,700sq.m) and boast one of the largest gaming areas, at 10,000sq.ft (930sq.m.), of any casino in London.

Spaniard, Gustavo Rufas  has joined the international sales team at funworld AG, and is now responsible for sales of the Photo Play portfolio in Spain, Portugal and South America. His first public outing on behalf of the Austrian company was at the launch of Sportster Xtreme at FER Interazar in Madrid. Mr. Rufas is from the small Pyrenean village of Sabinango and has gained his international sales experience working for an international construction company based in Saragossa. A year ago, he came to Austria to broaden his experience and learn the German language.

Pushing through the evolution

CASINO WINNER is a next-gen pusher that takes Pac-Man Ball’s concept and lets rip

Casino Winner, displayed by Namco Europe at the Preview 2006 show in London, appears to be the next logical step in the evolution   of its successful pusher, Pac-man Ball. However, Sales and Commercial Director, John McKenzie is quick to point out that there are major differences between the two products. “Where Pac-Man Ball was most certainly a pusher,” explained Mr. McKenzie, “Playing Casino Winner the focus is not on the coin-bed, it’s on the screen. ” Feeding coins into Caseeno poker winner does follows the Pac-Man Ball coin-entry system, but these trigger a response from the screen which spins a series of fruit symbols. The outcome of matching symbols. The outcome of matching symbols award combination prizes, much like an AWP, with the coins won spilling from the top coin-bed to the bottom. The coins then spill over the edge but instead of falling into the player’s coin-tray, they enter a hopper and are fed onto an escalator. In this way Casino Winner counts the coins the player is winning, it knows the payout and therefore, has payout percentage software control unlike a traditional pusher. “Operators don’t have to adjust the lip size of the coin-beds, this is all controlled through the software,” explained Mr. McKenzie. “From a maintenance point of view it’s a great concept for a pusher, but software control also means that operators can reduce or increase the payout without mechanically altering the machine. ” In addition, casino Winner also features a series of interesting bonuses. Three-In-A-Line sees the integral Wheel of Fortune spinning before landing on a number, this determines the number of free spins awarded from 1-8, with the payout accumulated  as a total prize. The second bonus is 3 wild Symbols, where the player returns to the Wheel Of Fortune, with an odds or evens choice to quadruple the win. The final feature is a 3 card bonus, where the player is dealt a vadio poker hand, whereby a flush wins the jacpot and sees tray dispensing a mass of coins to the player, though again this is a set jackpot and part of the controlled payout. “This is the next generation of Pac-Man Ball,” said Mr. McKenzie. “It will complement the gameplay and sit alongside Pac-Man Ball in locations. ”

Technoplay move towards slot gaming and export

Having built its business in the domestic Italian amusements and video games market, San Marino-based Technoplay is now committed to further expansion in both gaming and export. In Bologna, sales manager Mauro Zaccaria explained that products such as ‘Magic Stack Slot ’, a video based five-stop slot with poker, and ‘Super Triple Bar’, a multi-line video with 17ins. TFT monitor, are the way forward, in new markets. “Our new games for Spain are now homologated and we have a distributor in place. This is a market we will be heavily focusing on in the future, from FER Madrid and beyond. ”

*  Alberici introduce multi-tasking PCB

      Alberici introduced a new multi-tasking PC board that works in both ccTalk and standard formats. Created to drive a range of devices including smart card readers, credit card readers and hopper, export Sales manager Guido Scarpetti underlined its diversity, saying that “it drives almost anything that is connected to it and so has applications in gaming and other sectors. ” And, because Italian gaming law forbids changes to be made to any data within a machine once it has left the source of manufacture, alberici has also introduced a protective ‘shell’ that prevents any such intrusion, as it is impossible to open without breakage. Mr. Scarpetti believes that from the point of view of the law makers, this will be seen as “an excellent development. ”

*  The toughest nut to crack in Italy is the latest high security changer from Comestero, the appropriately named ‘Jolly ’. This heavy duty piece of kit is extremely strong and incredibly secure. In fact, if you are a thief, it is not very ‘jolly ’ at all. Three separate keys are needed to open the entire unit, one for top opening refill, one for the technician and one for the cash collection. And once the upper door is open, a disabling device ensures even greater security. The slimline (20cm) design also means that it can sit comfortably between two machines and ‘channels ’ around its top surface mean that it even protects against customer spillages. From where we were standing, it seemed safe, very safe.

TCS JohnHuxley has  appointed Tom Gaytan as General Manager of the recently launched Worldwide Games division. Based in the Las Vegas office, Mr. Gaytan joined the team last month, reporting directly to Raul Bouchot, Executive Vice President of TCS JohnHuxley USA. Worldwide Games is a specialist division created  by TCS JohnHuxley to develop an ever growing portfolio of exciting proprietary games. From the latest proven layout game concepts to the most advanced jackpot bonus systems, worldwide games provides operators with all their proprietary gaming needs. Mr. Gaytan brings a wealth of experience gained over 13 years in the gaming industry, having started his gaming career at Shuffle master.

*  Brent Sales has made a  major new signing with the appointment of John Crompton, with specific responsibility for the South-East and South Coast of England, East Anglia and Wales. Sales and Commercial Director, John McKenzie enthused: “John Crompton could never be described as a suit! He has a hands-on, no-nonsense approach which is underpinned by a life-time working in and with the business. Out House of ‘Fun poker ’collection is the strongest portfolio of non-gambling product in the country. The addition of John Crompton now completes our extremely strong sales and marketing team. ” John Crompton was an integral member of the team that developed the X-Factor crane, the distribution rights for which were recently awarded to Brent on an exclusive basis. He has spent his whole working life in the industry and is widely regarded as one of the best seaside specialists in the business, understanding the needs of both supplier and coastal retailer