Category: News

21 Apr 2021

Eag Online: Italian amusement industry crisis, race against time

A pending crisis in the Italian amusement industry could have influences on surrounding European countries, a seminar during London’s EAG Online trade show was warned yesterday.

A panel discussed The Amusement Revolution in Italy”, which saw speakers warn of pending Italian laws that would put insufferable burdens on the country’s estimated 110,000 amusement machines.

Trade leaders from Italy took participants through the current situation. There has been a long-running problem in Italy with ticket redemption, with some local authorities attempting to impose gaming machine regulations on the devices.

The Italian industry, led by its trade associations, has constantly fought any imposed link on ticket redemption games with slot machines, and has even commissioned a Rome university to provide detailed and independent research to prove no connection. That research, the seminar was told, is close to completion.

Meanwhile, the Italian Government is proposing new laws for all of the country’s amusement devices, among them some very damaging proposals that every machine entering the country – even football tables, kiddie rides and novelty games – should be homologated. This, asserts the trade associations, would place an intolerable burden on the movement of machines into Italy and force operators to buy only Italian-made games.

The seminar, brought together by GiocoNews, was moderated by David Snook of InterGame. The speakers included GiocoNews’ Editor, Alessio Crisantemi, Alessandro Lama, president of Federazione Amusement Confesercenti, Mauro Zaccaria of FEE Consortium, the FEC organisation, and Claudio Dalla Pria, member of the SAPAR trade association. They were joined by Jason Frost, president of Euromat.

Lama gave a concise update with slides on the findings so far of the ticket redemption study, that showed no correlation between ticket redemption and gambling. The conception of players was that the games were totally harmless and did not lead to compulsive gambling.

The problem, said Claudio Della Pria, was exacerbated by localised powers to dictate what games are permitted locally and other rules.

Mauro Zaccaria said that the estimated of the number of non-gambling machines currently in Italy – including ticket redemption – was a conservative 110,000.

They all agreed with Jason Frost that the larger picture would be highly damaging. The Italian proposals, currently with the European Commission for approval, had many negative issues, including the top value of all prizes taken out of a location, the costly homologation of all games entering the country and lack of information about how the rules may apply to the existing market.

Alessandro Lama emphasised that there was now a consultation period during which interested parties, including individuals, companies and trade organisations, could lobby the Commission on the damaging consequences of approving the Italian decree. Those comments have to be with the Commission by May 10.

Euromat was in the course of approving its own submission in support of the Italian trade. Any others wishing to add their voices to the campaign, should direct them to Giuseppe Casella, Head of Unit, Prevention of Technical Barriers, Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, European Commission, Avenue des Nerviens 105, 1040 Bruxelles, Belgium.

(From InterGame.com)

10 Apr 2021

What is new in the gambling world?

The current pandemic has accelerated an existent transformative process in the gambling market, not only the technological field but also in marketing and regulation.

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25 Mar 2021

Amusement rules, operators: ‘Preserve current machinery’

Existing machinery, approval and value of the prizes: these are the issues of the technical rules for amusement sent to the EU under the lens of the operators, who are asking for further discussions.

“We are satisfied with the partial acceptance of our requests, but we would have expected a greater sharing of the proposals we presented last year, when there was the first discussion with the Agenzia delle Dogane e dei Monopoli, in the open hearing on Amusement and new technical rules. Although we appreciated that consultation phase, we would have liked a second round of consultations. Now we will discuss with our technicians to understand the consequences and we will decide on the next information, logistical and operational actions for our associates, distributors, producers and managers”.

Alessandro Lama, president of the Federazione Amusement Confesercenti, higlights it after sending to the European Commission the draft of technical rules for production, import and verification of amusement machines without cash prizes, pursuant to art 110 paragraph 7 of the Royal Decree of 18 June 1931, n. 773 and subsequent amendments (Tulps), for the usual quarterly stand still, which marks the beginning of a new era for amusement machines without cash winning, expected for 10 years.
“Some of the most obvious points have been collected; others, probably also due to the intersection with some legal texts that could not be regulated by a technical decree, have not been modified according to our wishes”, Lama continues. The clearest question concerns the fate of the existing machines. What will happen to them? A Gordian knot, according to Lama, given that the decree “refers to the machines that will be placed on the market after the decree comes into force”.

The president of the Federazione Amusement Confesercenti points out that “the battle is being fought on other fields. At present, our halls are still closed despite the heavy investments in safety and without knowing anything about our future, so a regulation is welcome, a technical decree with 10 years of delay is welcome, but we would like a greater commitment to block operators who ruin the market, by making clearly illegal offers, against the rules of amusement and common sense”, Lama reminds.
Another point “excluded” by the new decree is the “lack of distinction in terms of homologation between machines such as table football and more complex ones; there is not even a reference to any tests on the market before carrying out a sustainability testing, there is no control of the prices of the approvals, there is no dedicated national price list, there are many small details that were not followed.
It is wrong to burden our sector with ancillary costs and limitations, given that we turn to families: a sector that should be a driving force for the gaming world will be killed with these rules.
Well, I think that after 10 years of waiting maybe it would have been better to broaden the discussion a little more, to make a little more effort at a time when the market is at a standstill and there was no urgency. We could have taken the opportunity to do a different job, we deserved more attention”.
However, for Lama, the text is a good result of the consultation with the other associations represnting the sector, starting with Sapar Service, led by Paolo Dalla Pria.
“In general, I see good opportunities in this decree. Of course, we will have to see how it will be at the end of the stand still, then it will be possible to make a more concrete speech, but the rules that are inside cover a bit of everything. For example, it gives us, one day, the possibility of working in the halls with online gaming, of making contracts with big groups such as Bandai Namco, to name one.
There are no precise rules on the existing machinery, but I believe an amnesty will be made. In general, I don’t see it badly, better than the other times, in three months we will face the technical table again”.

Vanni Ferro, president of New Asgi Association, also expressed substantial satisfaction with the new rules.
“Finally, a sector that has been in a regulatory limbo for years putting us in extreme difficulty in case of controls is being regulated. In fact, some types of games were not yet regulated and we didn’t known whether or not they could operate. We are satisfied with the acceptance of some observations, such as those made on cranes and bulldozers, the possibility that there are objects related to the bulldozer but not prizes, with the introduction of regulatory changes dictated by the entry on the market of new types of games. We are not for other reasons, starting with doubts about the existing machinery: we don’t know what we should do with them, in the light of investments of hundreds of thousands euros, given that the text only deals with games that will be built from now on”, Ferro reminds, as already done by his colleagues in the sector. “We have told this point to the Monopolies, but to date we haven’t received any response on this. Furthermore, we are also worried about the value of the prizes, blocked in 2005; a small adjustment had to be made, it is inconceivable today to find quality products with figures up to €20. It would have been fairer to review it and bring the limit to €40-50. Another issue is the homologation of all games: it becomes a problem to find the company code, it is only an Italian problem, it doesn’t exist abroad, you can do self-certification. We were hoping for a different vision also for paragraph 7c; at the time, homologations were born because the machines could not become slots, today it is impossible for this to happen, this type of fear no longer exists. It would have been fine to add a light homologation, as proposed last year for some kind of machines”, the president of New Asgi says, who doesn’t hide some concern for the immediate and long-term future.” It is increasingly difficult to work in this market, with the looming crisis, and this decree won’t help us. It was important to give us the opportunity to make our observations on the drafts sent at the time, but another discussion would have been necessary, to give reasons for our observations, to understand the difficulties of operating and implementing what was requested. I don’t know how the market will react, we are evaluating it and trying to understand how to operate: above all, there is great concern for the fate of the existing machinery, we should have time to reach a provisional approval or an authorization for 5 years, to give time to dampen the investments made”.

Mauro Zaccaria, president of Consorzio Fee (Family Entertainment Expo), thinks the same: “At the time, Adm called us to give our contribution to the decree, and we expressed our doubts about the first draft. In this, someone was welcomed and some not, we hope that after the end of the stand still in the European Commission some small adjustments can be made.
There is no doubt that this decree completes the regulation of the sector, and further bureaucratises it.
There is some sign of evolution, such as the inclusion of online gaming: we are the last country in the world to do so, but at least a step forward has been made. Not everything is lost, we have to wait for the evaluations of the other states, hoping that they will take our point of view into account.
There is no doubt that this decree completes the regulation of the sector, and further bureaucratises it.
There is some sign of evolution, such as the inclusion of online gaming: we are the last country in the world to do that, but at least a step forward has been made.
It would be important if this were accompanied by at least some stability in the sector, to avoid having to submit to regional and municipal limits to amusement in the future, such as the ban of using ticket redemptions for minors under 18, decided by Emilia Romagna.
In any case, we carry out our ideas, we continue to point out the existing critical issues and we try to make the Adm understand why, we hope they will listen to us”.

25 Mar 2021

Amusement: the new Italian technical rules fly to Brussels

The new technical rules on amusement devices without cash winning have been sent to the European Commission in Brussels.

The wait is over. Or rather, now there is the community stand still, that is the three months (expiring on May, the 17th) during which the member states or the European Commission itself will be able to express opinions or observations.
In the meantime, the expected draft of technical rules for production, import and test of amusement machines without cash winning pursuant to art.110 paragraph 7 of the Royal Decree of 18 June 1931, n. 773 and subsequent modifications (Tulps) has been sent to Brussels.

THE CONTENT – The draft Decree, consisting of 4 chapters divided into 3 articles, defines the technical characteristics for production, import and test of amusement machines without cash prizes referred to in Article 110, paragraph 7, of Royal decree 18 June 1931, n. 773 and subsequent modifications (Tulps).
Articles 1, 2 of Chapter 1 and Article 13 of Chapter 4 respectively contain the purposes, the nomenclator with the definitions of terms and devices used in the decree and the rules on entry into force and abrogations.
Chapter 2, made of 10 articles, contains to articles 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 the technical rules for the production of devices, defining the minimum requirements, as well as the specific additional requirements required for each type of device, as defined in the nomenclator referred to in the previous article 2. On the other hand, articles 8, 9 and 10, dictate the requirements and details regarding the technical documents that must accompany each model of device, as well as the obligations of keeping, storing and updating the maintenance and application register on the devices with plates containing warnings, information and classifications of the device itself.
Finally, Chapter 3 makes the rules for the technical test of the devices by the certification bodies, as well as the purposes of the checks to be carried out to obtain the homologation referred to in article 38, paragraph 3 of the law of 23 December 2000, n. 388.

THE REASONS – As recalled in the notification sent to Brussels, Article 104 of Legislative Decree no.104/2020, converted by law 13 October 2020, n.126 provides for an amendment to Article 110, paragraph 7-ter of the Tulps on the subject of amusement machines without cash winning.
In particular, it provides that “…by provision of the director of the Agenzia delle Dogane e dei Monopoli (the Italian gaming regulator), to be issued within nine months from the date of entry into force of this provision, in order to ensure the prevention of risks associated with gambling, the technical rules for the production of the devices referred to in paragraph 7 are defined, as well as their administrative regulation, including the numerical parameters of devices installed in the offer points, as defined by current legislation”.
The rules currently in force, dating back to 2005, must necessarily be adapted to make them appropriate to the enormous technological developments that have occurred in the meantime, but also to the different sensitivity gained towards specific types of gaming and, above all, to counter the spread and proliferation of the so-called “totem”, fake devices with no cash winning or that simulate other technological services (for example phone cards) but which are actually devices with completely illegal cash winning.
The provision, much awaited by the entire Amusement sector, defines the requirements of the individual types of devices provided for by article 110, paragraph 7 of the Tulps, clarifying the operating methods, the minimum requirements, the necessary technical-administrative documents, the gaming mechanisms, the certification rules and will form the basis for the subsequent decree of the Minister of Economy, which will define the flat-rate tax base for the related applicable tax.
The Draft Decree provides for the specific regulation of the so-called electromechanical devices and in compliance with an aim of simplifying procedures, it provides for some types of devices lighter and more immediate certification rules. It also fills a gap by defining the perimeter of the so-called devices. That is to say, ticket redemptions issuing tickets at the end of the game.
Moreover, the draft decree for the first time defines and regulates the possibility of network connection of the devices and introduces the obligation of the Pegi classification, or equivalent system.