While Electrocoin has hit the ground running this decade after a strong performance from skill games and pinball over the last twelve months, the company’s John A. Stergides believes the industry and its regulator still have a lot to do to keep pace with the ever-increasing demands of modern society
John A. Stergides: The top earner for the year, Skill Cut Winner, will be on show in five different colours. These are proving to be very successful for operators and we now offer them in eight different colours.
Our brand-new eye-catching skill game, Four Player Ball Paradise, will also be a highlight. To win a prize, players have to shoot the capsule of a conveyor belt into a hole, providing fun for all the family as they can all play together at the same time. It can hold up to five hundred 100mm capsules.
As always, Stern Pinball will garner attention at EAG, this time with a European debut of a game based on the popular TV Series, Stranger Things. On the gaming side there is a new B3 cabinet and games from Spin Gaming, and we will also be debuting a few more products along with our current line.
CSR: How did trading fair during 2019 and what trends have you seen throughout the year?
JS: Compared to recent years, it was better, this was helped as we increased our portfolio of redemption/prize vend products with the Skill Cut Winner and Drop A Winner proving to be big hits along with the new Stern pinballs. Family entertainment is a key trend and this is shown with our current and new product line. We can see new opportunities within gaming due to the change in stake with FOBT’s and the change in ownership with other manufacturers which will lead to more opportunities.
CSR: What kind of feedback are you getting from players and operators?
JS: From the family entertainment players, we are hearing a big reaction to redemption games and other vending type games. From players who like a game of chance, they are returning to AGC and pubs playing Cat C machines as they are no longer spending as much time and money with the FOBTs. This provides the operators with improved results which allows them to invest in new Cat C equipment
CSR: What will be your key areas of focus over the coming twelve months?
JS: We are looking to increase our portfolio of products geared towards single sites and FECs like the Skill Cut Winner but there will be numerous new installations of Intercard Cashless system as FECs are starting to add cashless system (albeit with coin too) to their locations. We will also be launching a new special deal at EAG to boost the pinball profile in singles sites and FECs.
CSR: What kinds of regulatory changes would you like to see, and what issues must the industry itself address?
JS: Stakes and prices need to be brought up to date to reflect the market and it would benefit everyone to remove a lot of the bureaucracy on Skill Games, Cranes and Pushers. Regulators must also look at how to level the playing field with online gaming, which will protect players, as shown with the reduction in FOBTs.
In our opinion, the stake reduction has provided a fair result from the players and also for the FOBT operators, and as a side effect our industry is better for it. We still, however, must sort out our payment systems to keep in line with the change in society’s way of making transactions.
CSR: With Brexit now clearly on the horizon, how will this affect your business processes and plans going forward?
JS: If it goes ahead, there will be two areas that will have an effect: Firstly, the sort of trade deal that is agreed with the EU and other countries as we import and export many goods especially in the EU. Secondly the effect on the exchange rate in particular with the dollar and euro as we distribute for a number of foreign companies and if the costs go up any further than they already have done since the referendum, this will make it harder for all of us. But most importantly we need clarity to be able to plan forward.