Ahead of the Park Avenue Open Day Coinslot spoke to Electrocoin’s John A Stergides about what those attending can expect this coming Wednesday 5th June.
Coinslot: Park Avenue has the established hub for industry networking. So, what trends are we expecting to evesdrop on during the day?
John A Stergides: “The after effects since the change of stake on FOBTs which have shown to be quite mixed. Also the change in direction for those operating in pubs and how the different companies will adapt with new ways of supplying machines.”
CS: These are key times for the industry, what are the main positives you are seeing that are driving business forward?
JS: “Hopefully with the stake reduction in the FOBTs that took place at the beginning of April there will be extra money being spent in other areas within the leisure and entertainment industry. If businesses are seeing a positive upturn in income, this will lead to more investment whether it’s R&D or machinery for locations.”
CS: That clearly would be a good thing, but we still have fairly high hurdles to clear – notably in regulation and legislation. Which beggars the obvious question: what are your major concerns in these areas, and as someone from a new generation, do you have an idea of possible solutions that could be explored?
JS: “That the government is not acting quick enough to address areas that need change. For example, stakes and prizes for land based gaming hasn’t changed or generally been reviewed for a number years due to the focus on FOBTs. Although that issue is now in the past since 1 April, they need to address online gaming as it should be in line with land based. However that will most likely detract away from the fact that land based requires a slight change on stakes and prizes to keep it refreshed and attractive to players.”
CS: They say the industry is all about product, what launches and plans have you got coming up in the coming months?
JS: “We are constantly looking at expanding our portfolio of amusement products, whether that is Prize vending or gaming machines. We will also be looking at adding features to our current product range for example like the Ticket Eaters, Skill Cuts, Cat C digital etc.”
CS: Park Avenue is the perfect platform for Electrocoin, so what products in your portfolio are you most enthusiastic about?
JS: “It is hard to pick out just one as a lot of our products are standouts for their particularly category, whether it’s the Ticket Eaters, cashless system, Cat C Digital and analogue. However, if I had to chose two it would be the Skill Cut, where players have to cut the string to win the big prize filling the machine, or the carnival throwing game Hit and Smash.”
CS: Electrocoin has always been a keen international player, so we can’t miss the opportunity to pose a question on Brexit. Businesswise, how do you think trading will be impacted over the coming years and how are you preparing for this?
JS: “Brexit has already affected business as it’s pushed all our costs up especially with the weakening of the sterling pound. Although we have tried to avoid passing on the increase costs, if the pound weakens any further, this will have to change.”
CS: How will cashless restrictions, player tracking and further intensity of regulation impact your business?
JS: “Cashless is playing a big part, I think a recent statistic showed that cashless overtook cash payments as the preferred use of payment in the UK and this will continue. There needs to be a solution especially with the number of cash points being removed from pubs, high streets etc. “Player tracking will have a detrimental effect on the gaming industry as recent research showed most players in the high street prefer not to be tracked and that is their right. If they begin player tracking for gaming areas, where will it stop? Will they start tracking people who drink in the pubs, buy a fast car, smoke, eat fast food etc.