At Eag 2019, the London amusement fair, focus on the Italian sector of ticket redemptions and on the rules that in many parts of Italy aim to ban them: they will take stock of the situation in Rome.
Eyes on “The Italian mistake”, at Eag 2019, the tenth edition of the London amusement fair opened today January, the 15th. Under the microscope of the homonymous seminar of GiocoNews.it, the recent bans, in many parts of Italy, on ticket redemptions, a situation that the Euromat president, Jason Frost, believes is “particularly critical” and deserves “general attention. I have no doubt to say that ticket redemptions represent a gaming offer for minors and for families, and rather I believe that it is the best offer for this target”.
Frost explains the reasons of the Italian operators that he knows well, having closely studied the Italian situation. “As president of Euromat – he adds – I was recently in Italy, where I met the operators and the bodies representing them and we decided to support their work to affirm the rights of the sector and defend their activities. The operators have commissioned a survey of this games to an important university and Euromat has decided to financially support this work too, because it is essential to subvert the Italian situation that seriously threatens the industry and could also have other consequences beyond the individual country. We know that there are movements against ticket redemptions in other countries too and even France, for example, has introduced a restrictive regulation, but this can’t happen and as an industry we have the duty to defend our business and make sure that politics undestand the problem a to act in a serious and appropriate way”.
The number one of Euromat highlights: “We are close to Italian operators because this is a global problem that goes beyond every border. This is why we have to do something about it and act in such a way as to spread a culture of entertainment and in addition trying to solve the Italian case, to prevent the situation from spreading”.
THE DOMINO EFFECT – Moreover, according to Vanni Ferro, president of the association of Italian arcades, New Asgi, “the Italian mistake may not be just Italian. This is why it is important to bring this problem to the general attention, its consequences are intended to affect the whole industry on a global level. I knew that other countries such as France are also restricting this type of games and this already reveals the dangers of the phenomenon on a general level. This is why we believe it is fundamental to join forces, as an industry, at an international level to be able to explain the reality of our sector to politics and institutions and make our voices heard. I am very pleased to hear today the words of the Euromat President, who joins our line because we will need all the necessary support to change the situation and prevent it from getting worse, even outside our country”.
As regards Italy, he stresses: “We said that in Italy already four regions have introduced a specific ban on ticket redemptions, but these are only the first ones, because there is not a culture and knowledge of the sector, so we fear the domino effect with other regions following them by adopting similar legislative initiatives, that is partly already happening. We tried to put up a common front between operators and associations to make understand our reality and the mistakes of politics, but we need something more and the support of the whole industry”.
THE ROMAN MEETING – The discussion about the “Italian mistake” doesn’t end in London, even if a common international front on amusement is born right at Eag and at the seminar to protect industry and pure entertainment. On January, the 29th, there will be a summit in Rome with Euromat that will come specifically to meet the amusement associations that are fighting this battle against local regulations banning ticket redemptions: Sapar, Fee and New Asgi, as well as to formally join a worktable on amusement and the study of Roma Tre.
BRITISH PRESS – British journalist David Snook, InterGame editor and moderator of the debate, points out how in Italy there are “embarrassing politicians. It is precisely because of the latter that gaming industry without cash winnings has to deal with illogical restrictions that threaten the disappearance of the sector and that will result in the exit of a type of gaming offer that instead should be encouraged because it represents the best one because doesn’t have any side effect for families”.
According to Snook, “if the industry is not stupid and wraps a 50-euro bill around a teddy bear, then ticket redemptions in exchange for prizes of merchandise of insignificant value cause zero damage for minors. This is the idea of many countries all over the world, even the most conservative administrations – some of them in the Middle East where gambling is strictly forbidden, like Saudi Arabia – don’t have problems with small prizes for skill games played for tickets”.
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Next to the Italy of gaming that made an exemple (until some time ago) to the rest of the world in terms of regulation of public gaming, there has always been another face of the same country (and the same sector, or nearly) that, on the contrary, represented an anomaly compared to other States. That is the one concerning the regulation of the so-called “Amusement” sector, better known here as “pure entertainment”: that of gaming without cash prizes, consisting of arcade video games, table football, pinball machines and, above all, ticket redemptions. Those games that have always been in the arcades, bowlings and Fecs of our country, as in the rest of the world. Only in Italy this gaming segment has never found a final regulation (while touching it, some government ago, with the draft of a new legislation desired by the then undersecretary Alberto Giorgetti, but never really implemented), relegating the entire industry in a limbo made of mere administrative “tolerance”. A status that has always left the industry at the mercy of perpetual uncertainty, despite the repeated but obviously vain calls of the insiders.
A CRITICAL SITUATION – However, the situation has worsened a lot in recent months and years, with advancing populism and the spread of the “anti-gaming” battle, that has overcome every border, invading and compromising also the market of gaming without cash prices. Even if this represents – and should represent – an alternative to gambling and an offer without adverse reactions, that governments should encourage, instead of hindering, just to promote its spread. Instead, to everyone’s surprise, a smear campaign against this sector started for some time, targeting, in particular, ticket redemptions, accused of “inducing children towards gambling”. A matter that our readers know well, having always given great space to this issue and this illogical institutional battle, carried out by some local administrations. Up to a series of restrictions and prohibitions, such as those adopted by Emilia-Romagna, Friuli, Veneto and then Tuscany. With the risk that this practice may spread even more widely, perhaps even coming to be adopted as a national rule. Without anyone cares to deepen the subject and try to understand what we are really talking about.
RISKS IN EUROPE – A scenario that particularly scares the industry and not only at the national level. Given that this market, based on games imports, is dominated by the video game majors, exporting their products all over the world, without having regulatory problems, as it happens today in Italy, where the market has been significantly compromised by these political dynamics, while still managing to survive. But the fear of the spread of these restrictions is so big and general, so much so that they find space at the Eag & Vae Expo in London too (scheduled in January, 15 – 17, at the ExCel exhibition center in the British capital), where a debate is proposed, dedicated to this theme entitled “The Italian Mistake”, promoted by GiocoNews.it.
THE DEBATE – The spokesman for the Consorzio Fee, Alessandro Lama, together with the president of the Euromat European Federation, Jason Frost, will attend the debate, in a panel moderated by the editor of the British magazine InterGame, David Snook, a true veteran of the sector, confirming the international attention on the subject. Therefore, the debate aims to propose a moment of discussion and general reflection on the – particularly critical – case of Ticket Redemptions market in Italy. After the fact that different regions of Italy are forbidding this type of games. The meeting is at the first day of the fair, Tuesday, January, the 15th, at 03.15 pm local time (04.15 pm Italian time), in the Seminar space set up inside the event that represents the first event in Europe dedicated to the entertainment industry.