Bingo Legislation

The diversity   of the amusement sector provides a wealth of products to choose from for both players and operators. However, such a wide spectrum of games can prove problematic for the legislators, with many areas falling through the gaps in legislation.

Redemption in many countries does just that, while in Italy, Belgian Bingo machines have proven to be the Achilles heel of the country’s legislators. Confusion reigns as to whether the game falls into the category of pinball, gambling, amusement with prize etc. This inability to categories bingos has hurt sales and despite Italy’s   love of the online poker game, with thousands currently in the market, the prospects for the machine look bleak unless the government can get to grips with the dynamics of the game. “There are also too many cheap, low cost products in the Italian market right now,” stated Seeben’s Patrick Magendans in Rimini last month.

“In Belgium, where our products sell very well, the market is properly regulated and such cheap machines cannot survive. But in Italy, things are always different. ” Seeben has, however, found success with its magic Circus games in the domestic "elgian market, with sales outstripping supply at present. And the company has also found success with its upgrade kits, presented at the ICE show in January, ad which update ageing slots with LCD screens. “The kits have been particularly popular for owners of Royal Ascot, who wish to refresh the still popular game, with an inexpensive solution that’s also easy to install,” stated Mr. Magendans.

Mars sells mEI to Bain Capital

In a surprise move from a family owned company not known for selling off its assets, Mars has agreed the sale of MEI Conlux to Bain Capital and advantage Partners. Bain capital, a global private investment firm, and Advantage Partners, a Japanese private equity company, have entered into an agreement to acquire mEI Conlux, a transaction that is subject to the n0ormal regulatory approvals. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed, but both Bloomberg and Reuters pegged the price at more than US $500m, citing undisclosed sources, Headquartered in West Chester, Pennsylvania and Sakado, Japan, MEI Conlux has the world’s largest installed base of unattended payment systems, handling over the one billion cash transactions every week. In 2003, Mars purchased Conlux, the leading Japanese payment   provider, and combined it with MEI. “We enjoy strong industry relationships, a heritage of technology innovation and the number one or number two position in all of our business segments,” said Mike Hayes, who will continue as President of MEI Conlux.

 “This positions us for significant growth and gives us the opportunity to invest more aggressively in new segments and geographies. The management team looks forward to working with Bain Capital and Advantage Partners to expand our  business and introduce new technologies to improve service to our customers and consumers. ” “MEI Conlux has a strong competitive position and superior technology which we believe will yield excellent growth in retail and gaming, as well as the core vending and transport businesses,” said David Gross-Loh, a Managing Director at Bain Capital in Tokyo. “Bain Capital and Advantage Partners teamed up to leverage deep industry expertise and local market knowledge in Japan, the U.S. and Europe to quickly assess the prospects for the business. Bain Capital recently established offices in Tokyo, Shanghai and Hong Kong to pursue investment opportunities in Japan and China.