Merit strengthening role in Italian games market

The enforced homologation of video and touchscreen games in Italy, has caused hold-ups and headaches for many manufactures. Merit entertainment is currently homologating units that will potential be provided in new distributor Verbard Giochi’s cabinets. Merit is looking to fill the requirement by law to site one video product alongside every three gaming devices. According to Verbard’s Fabrizio de Grande, the most popular devices are those of fun world and TAB-Austria, but operators want Merit’s games at more competitive price.

     “Manufacturing the cabinets in Italy will lower costs, while still providing Merit quality products, such as ION, at a price that’s right for the market,” stated Merit’s Frank Ballouz in Rimini. “We’re currently in third place in this market, with perhaps 1,000 older units in the country. But working with Verbard we are looking to move forward much stronger than in the past. ”

AGI big guns

Austria Gaming Industries’ Multi-Germinator machines have proven to be a top performer in the international operations of the US Army Recreation Machine Program (US ARMP). As a result, aGI is celebrating an increase in sales success for its machines made in Austria for the US ARMP.

  Although the relationship between AGI and the US Army has existed for just two years, the US ARMP has become an important customer that is now increasing its stakes in AGI’s products. In December 2004, after an initial meeting, US ARMP representatives sampled AGI products across slot halls in international bases. The trial consisted of 40   Multi Gaminator IV with a wide selection of games operated in diverse international US ARMP operations, except in the US, where the operation of slot machines is prohibited. The multi Gaminator is a flexible and proven multi-game solution offered in AGI’s sophisticated Gaminator cabinet. Depending on the respective version it provides a choice of 5, 8, or 10 video games, each being selectable by the player. Even before the trial period was over the success prompted an additional order of 128 machines. In September 2005, another order was placed for 84 machines. The US ARMP applied rigorous parameters for testing the machines that focused on machines acceptance by customers and revenue generation, machine reliability and after sales service and support in both Asian and European markets.

The tests included side-by-side comparison with the top machines within the US ARMP machine fleet of 3,000 slot machines, which consists of the newest, state-of-the-art machines produced by major Us manufacturers. Within that environment the AGI machines were able to outperform all other machines operated by the US ARMP and continue to be their No.1 performing machine overall. Following ICE 2006 and having reviewed the performance of the multi Germinator across all installation, US ARMP has come to the decision or this year’s first order of 183 machines. This time the US ARMP has chosen the brand new Multi Gaminator version X.

Touchscreen hit hard by Italy’s homologation rule

The sale of touchscreen games in Italian had ground to a halt in March. Wolfgang Stambach of Norditalia, distributor for TAB-Austria in Italy, explained that legislation had crippled the market. Each manufacturer was in the system to homologate their machines, with touchscreen games hit especially hard. “After years of selling the online connectivity of SilverBall, now the AAMS (the Italian Gaming Monopoly) tells us that it will not homologate online games. This is a disaster from the operator’s point of view, since if you are not online then you are losing 80 per cent of game revenue. ” Mr. Stambach also believes that the AAMS is having difficulties setting out the criteria for the testing of touchscreen games. “We were told two weeks, but it has dragged on for months,” said Mr. Stambach. “They simply don’t know how to homologate our machines. ” Another dilemma for the operator is that every card game on the touchscreen must be listed and homologated. For some oaf the older machines with different levels of upgrade, this has caused considerable logistical problems. “You have to make sure that you update the machines,” said Mr. Stranmbach. “We are homologating
Version 10 since there’s little sense homologating all the previous versions. This also means that we’re canceling the free updates in Italy as it would be too expensive. And we’ve removed games that might cause trouble for the operator, just to be on the safe side, otherwise the police could confiscate the machine by mistake. ”

Nova Desitec says change is positive

“The shift in the Italian legislation from a 70,000 game cycle to 140,000 is a big step,” confirmed Nova Desitec’s Thore Noll. Nova Desitec is a Spanish games designer and slot manufacturer with a reputation in Italy of creating exciting games for the player base. “This change allows us to create more appealing games for the poker player. It’s much easier to develop a game when the law allows for flexibility in the game cycle. It’s better for us and ultimately better for the player,” said Mr. Noll. The stake change to one euro from 50 cents and to a 100 euro prize from 50, will also provide a greater incentive to play and already Nova Desitec is preparing two online pokar games for Italian manufacturer, Zest Gaming; one a casino product, the other a super cherry eight-line game for the AWP market