Cyberview signs major Italian systems contract

Cyberscan Technology, trading as Cyberview, a leading provider of downloadable server-based systems to the gaming industry, has entered into agreements to provide its Central Server-Based Platform to two major Italian gaming operators, Atlantis World and HBG Connex. Atlantis World and HBG Connex are two of the 10 concessionaires licensed in Italy to operate Comma 6A gaming machines. Together they operate over 66,000 Comma6 machines in Italy on their respective networks, accounting for over 35 per cent of the current market. Italy is the largest licensed gaming market in Europe with approximately 170,000 Comma6 machines currently operating.

  Under the agreement, cyberscan will provide its central server-based monitoring and control system (MCS) which will enable Atlantis World and HBG Connex to control their network of terminals in a highly secure environment as well as enhancing their reporting capabilities. In addition, the companies have also agreed to work exclusively together on the provision of the Video Lottery (VLTs) platform, subject to the anticipated passage of new gaming legislation in Italy, whereby VLTs would be permitted. Jean-Marie Gatto, chief Executive Officer of Cyberscan. New easygaming regulations are pending in Italy, and cyberscan’s platform will enable our partners to increase the security and control of their network of machines for Comma6A and allow them to maintain their position as market leaders. ”

*  At the ENADA Spring event in Rimini, Italy,  Italian distributor and operator, SOGEMA, exhibited Odrex’s latest Mysterion multi-roulette, having formed a partnership with the Ukrainian company to develop the multi-player market in Italy. The law now permits roulette, though in typical fashion it’s still missing key components, such as a decision on the communication protocol between the multi-player and the provider. “We’ve not modified Mysterion to the old law,  but will be adapting the game to Comma 6A, with a 140,000 game cycle,” stated SOGEMA’s Andre Wessling. Gausing interest in the multi-player, SOGEMA distributed 1,000 catalogues for Mysterion roulette on the first day of the Rimini show. “There are lots of slot arcades in which the player will find roulette an attractive game,” said Mr. Wessling. “Operators are considering the logistics of how to site as many as possible within their locations, where the minimum space of 60sq.m. for a roulette game is pushing operators towards larger locations. ” In addition to multi-player hldem games, SOGEMA also has its eye on the terminal markets in Italy.

“The VLT law was passed last December alongside that of AWPs, but while the technical rules for AWPs were released in January, technical rules for VLTs Comma 6B, have not been presented and no one knows when it will be published,”  said Mr. Wessling, who is also currently working with Germany’s Cashpoint to branch into sports-betting in the Italian market. “The AAMS is to hold a public tender for 15 licenses for sport-betting. The government is interested in sports-betting because it can tax online at source, having already isolated the market with a blanket ban on external content provision via the internet. ”

Ainsworth Game Technology   has demonstrated a firm commitment to the growth of its business with the appointment of Ric Williams as General Manager Marketing. Mr. Williams has over 12 years experience in global marketing in the software, consumer electronics and FMCG markets. He commented;“I’m excited to be involved with AGT and the gaming industry. Ainsworth has a positive future with a great product range and energized people. We are set to capitalize on a growing global industry ’.

3M Digital’s signs for the times

3M opens a dedicated UK office for the provision of digital signage solutions.

3M Digital Signage has opened a UK office with a mission to bring its proven portfolio of software and display hardware solutions to a European customer base in retail, entertainment, leisure, corporate, education and other key markets. The business will be based at 3M UK’s head offices in Bracknell, Berkshire. Simon Birkenhead has been appointed UK Sales and Marketing Manager for 3M Digital Signage, and a team of technical and sales specialists is currently being trained. 3M will use this UK office to support a rapid expansion across Europe using 3M’s existing offices in most European and Middle East countries. Although new to Europe, 3M Digital Signage has a 15 years history in the US. In August 2005, 3M acquired Mercury Online Solutions and its FRED content management software. A pioneer in the digital signage market since 1996, Mercury Online acquired FRED in 2003. To date, 3M Digital Signage software has been used to drive over 9000 screens and interactive kiosks across thousands of locations for more than 100 clients 23 countries, giving the company one of the world’s broadest installed footprints in this fast-growing area. 3M Digital Signage software provides advanced content and network management functionality for any configuration of a digital signage network. Customers are offered a scaled portfolio of solutions able to manage just a single screen or a global network of thousands of remote screens. Content distribution can be via a local area network, the internet, CD or Compact Flash, or via satellite multicasting

Money Controls ’ direct approach pays dividends

UK validation specialist, Money Controls, has taken a very proactive approach to the Italian gaming sector. Its milan office, headed by Stephan Rosseneu, has enabled the company to go direct to domestic manufacturers, integrating products and adding benefits. “Money Controls ’ strategy in the Italian market has entered around the combi-hopper,” explained Mr. Rosseneu. “The two hoppers can pay out three different coins at a rate of right coins per second. We’ve had a machine on test since November with the SNAI betting  chain, which has seen a 15 per cent increase in cashbox. ” These impressive results are possible thanks to the functionality of the combi-hopper. “The hopper runs dry less often because it’s circulating more coins,” explained Mr. Rosseneu. “Plus, you can start off with fewer coins. Instead of 500 euros in the machine, the operator can place 300 euros, saving valuable working capital that’s not tied up in their hoppers. ” Money Controls has also been working closely with its Italian partner, Maggi, last year having signed a further five year commitment. It’s another sign of the company’s dedication to the Italian market. “Despite the stories of doom and gloom in Italy, the month of February saw another 3,000 machines installed in this market, which is not insubstantial,” said Mr. Rosseneu. “In September, games installed n 2004 must be swapped out of the market that’s 130,000-140,000 games. This is a great market. ”

*   Czech to allow online sports bets
The Czech Finance ministry has put together plans to legalise Internet Sports betting in time for the World Cup. The country currently does not allow any form of gambling online, including Internet casinos and online sports books. Legally, Czechs wanting to wager have turned to regular casinos, Herna bars (slots halls) and betting shops. The government’s new regulations would still prohibit online casinos and could ban foreign online gaming companies from having Czech customers. The ministry originally banned  Czech companies from creating onlne casinos in an effort to control gaming. However, at least eight foreign online poker casino companies have Internet pages written in Czech, according to the Finance ministry. Some of the companies have even advertised inside the Czech Republic. Czechs spend roughly US $504m on gambling per year, and the ministry estimates that $70m of it went to foreign on-line casinos in 2005.

After 38 years of games development, the Barcrest Group continues to champion Section 34 gaming machines (AWPs) in the UK. Having found recent success with Section 16/21 games in the arcade and bingo sector, it still views this market as volatile, with expectations that the Section 16/21 sales will halt in the near future. “We’ve seized opportunities in other sectors, but our stable business remains Section 34,” confirms Barcrest’s Barry Knowles. The company, however, has had to change its developments stratetgy. Originally, its Elvis-licensed  AWP failed to ignite the market in 2005, hindered by its rental model and comparably low  stake and prize. Revamped as a Section 16/21 and adjusted for sale, Elvis has since been a runaway success, followed by Casino and Rainbow Riches with their progressive jackpots,” Our Showtime Wave concept converts single pieces into multi-player progressive, while machines can also offer standalone progressive jackpots,” says Mr. Knowles, whose new grand casino game, with its linked progressive, dual screen and 21-line video game, is the most popular format in the UK right now. “Thanks to Section 16/21 there’s a greater acceptance f video reels games across the whole of the UK,” said Mr. Knowles. For years manufactures worried about how to convert mechanical reel AWP players to video AWP players, but it took Section 16/21 to make the leap.

“Previously there was an element of the risk when pioneering video concepts in the UK, but the trade now accepts new concepts more readily,” explains mr. Knowles. Barcrest continues to innovate with new concepts planned for Section 34, but as Barcrest’s Lee Berridge  points out: “ A triennial review would be a massive boost to the industry. A 50p stake would make all the difference,” states mr. Berridge. “AWP machines still take more than all the other parts of the market put together, thanks to the sheer number of machines on site. Analysts see he AWP sector declining and write it off, but they forget that there’s not been a triennial increase for eight years. The prize level was change in 2001, but not the stake, and it’s the stake that’s the most important element. If you had a bar that couldn’t raise its drinks prices along with demand and inflation, their business would suffer too. ” September 2007 is the date set by he government to increase to a 50p stake and £ 50 prize and introduce play from the win metre.

  It could mean the light at the end of the tunnel for UK AWPs, but in the meantime there’s still a lot of changes to come. Consolidation continues with the buying out of smaller players, while factory capacity has been one of the major factors hit by falling machine sales. “The numbers of machines we expect to assemble determines factory size,” says mr. Berridge. “Our expectation to manufacture doesn’t see a dramatic decline going forward. However, the contraction of the export market has had a significant impact on manufacturing units. There continues to be a genuine issue in the AWP marketplace without a triennial review. There have been redundancies in AWP business, with still further job losses to come. ”