Looking forward to EAG, industry pioneer John Stergides outlined a number of machines from the Electrocoin stable that he believes will be highlights of the show, notably, Hit and Smash, The Beatles Pinball, Skill Cut, Drop a Winner, also a new Four player Marble closed loop pusher from Konami.
Such will mark the start of a big year for the company which will be bringing a number of new Redemption and prize machines to market throughout the coming twelve months as well as “continually innovating” within the Cat C and B3 sectors.
This progress is, of course, tempered by the current state of regulation. In regards to what could be changed to enable a furthering of product innovation Stergides, in characteristic style, was not slow in coming forward.
“Participation play with a decent price of play,” he stated before slipping into top gear, “so it can allow a multi type of games to be played i.e. horse racing, car racing, speed boat racing etc. So you can play and have competition based on skill and chance.”
The market climate in 2018 was one of mixed results for many in the industry with unpredictable weather and an uncertain sociopolitical climate hampering some. Such was not the case for Electrocoin, however, which marked another positive period.
“This year was better than the last and hopefully 2019 will better than this year. We will have a wider variety of games for the family to play together.”
Whilst Stergides noted high expectations for the year to come there are naturally a number of challenges that all within the industry must face going forward. Assessing the road ahead he saw some very tight corners on the journey, not least driven by the subjects which had dominated both the industry and the country in recent months.
“The Brexit issue, which is causing fluctuations in the currency, competition from FOBTs and online gaming,” he declared. “We need to address the cashless society issue and try to persuade the government that online regulation should be the same as land-based regulations with the same or higher taxation due to lower running costs.”
And three solutions, Stergides feels, are staring the industry in the face; although a man of his experience will be first to recognise that these are wars which will be fought out over many battles.
That said, there is no one more comfortable than John Stergides in carrying the message into the warzone. “Bring online gaming on to the same level as land based machines; allow operation of a multibet with multi terminal options; and bring the issue of stake and prize regulation up to date.”
The rallying call has been sounded.