Unicum sets sights on Export

Shifting show dates?  Machine rental without sale?  What’s the deal in the Russian market?

Wrapping up another successful EELX show in December, Uncium CEO Yuri Larichev explains why we’£ be enjoying the exhibition again in the nine months. “EELEX moves to a September date for several reasons,” commented Mr. Larichev. “The owners of the existing Exponents exhibition hall could only provide us with the same ‘Christmas ’ dates for 2006, which is an unsatisfying prospect for our international guests. In addition, the exhibition centre no longer has the capacity to host the event, which means that we don’t have the space to grow the exhibition. This combined with the new dates of G2E, with that exhibition in November, we believe that now is the right time to move to a September date for EELX. ” The show’s new location is the Crocus exhibition   hall (the same location as the world of games event in June)

which gives EELEX 17,000 sq.m. to play with in the new space. The date is September 27-29, one week after the Kiev show Ukraine and unfortunately at the same time as the AMOA in Las Vegas Game and the FER Interazzar show in Spain. However, Unicum has been able to make a commitment for multiple years with the Crocus exhibition hall (though the hall did stipulate that the show could not be placed within three calendar months of the World of Games event) and there’s definitely the perk of better weather too. Asked how this would affect the traditional cyclical sale of machines in December, Mr. Larichev stated: “We usually develop a lots of leads in December. But this period only allows two weeks of sales before our Christmas break, whereby the September date will give us a longer business. ”

And with the current lack of a licensing body to certificate slot machines in the Russian market, and the consequent stalling of machines sales, the new show date appears favorable for renewed sales. “The waiver for manufacturers licences will be postponed until July 1, with no licensing procedure until then. Even after the vote in the Duma, the Prime minister must sign the document and this will take until at least February. In the meantime we will continue to rent machines instead of selling them. It’s a difficult position and one that we hope will move quickly. ” Mr. Larichev expects that the Russian Federal gaming law will be effective  from 2007, with voting in December to be ratified in February. “The Federal law is primarily focused on the operational licensing side of the business : who can apply, the minimum size of the hall, where these halls can be located, what and how many slots machines can be daily. Our expectation is that they will not let the gaming industry die. The authorities would like to restrict it is as far as they can, but still collect the taxes. However, while they can pass the legislation to gather more money, who is there to check every location?  They want to make money, but not carry out the work.

  Pass the law to gather the taxes, but inspecting, checking and regulating?  This unsettled domestic market has prioritized Unicum’s efforts in international markets, with this year key to the Russian company unlocking external markets for its expensive product range. “Our export business is extremely important for us in 2006,” said Mr. Larichev. “The new Sensation platform will be market ready by April with GLI approval. It’s industry standard board is a first for Unicum and we look forward to displaying its capabilities at the ICE show in London. I admit that we are newcomers in international territories, but we have many industry friends in different markets, and we’re making really detailed preparations. We will go one-by-one, assessing each country as to whether we go director or through a local distributor. We want to diversify and use our expertise. We have good ideas and are fast acting to the market needs. We understand that it is the game that makes the money, not the box and will be employing greater numbers of R & D technicians to achieve even better results. And we will also be working with external games developers, such as IGT Barcrest, who will be one of many suppliers over the next year..