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At the GiocoNews.it debate on videogames, organized within EAG, focus on training and connettivity.
London – The future of entertainment passes through the combination of electronic sports and arcades. This is what clearly emerges from the Eag Expo in London, the entertainment fair in progress at the ExCel exhibition center in the British capital, from the debate organized by GiocoNews.it, fully dedicated to esports and amusement.
The meeting, entitled: “Competitive videogames in a competitive market”, was attended by the managers of some leading companies in the segment, with direct experience in arcade activities, who illustrated the current developments and the trends that are emerging, showing however that, beyond the future, the union between these two worlds is already a reality and is giving great satisfaction to those who are investing in new technologies. For a decidedly cross-border phenomenon that is expanding, albeit at different rates, all over the world. Not by chance, three companies from very different countries such as Italy, Germany and the United States took part in the debate, through the proofs of Giovanni Antonioli Fantini, CEO of SandBox and partner of Tecnoplay, Robert Fankhaenel, co-founder by Hologate and Jan Goetgeluk, CEO and founder of the American Virtuix.
In outlining their personal and business experiences on the various markets, some agreement emerged as regards some specific issues, such as the future of entertainment in the arcades (and not only) and the basic conditions that this type of activity needs in order to quickly and properly define itself. For everyone, what is needed is a change of approach by the operators of the arcades and the general entertainment industry, which in addition to having to invest in these new technologies must facilitate this new path by focusing on training and infrastructure.
“The esports phenomenon, which is having a big success among young and very young people, has yet to be fully understood for several generations – Goetgeluk explains – for this reason it is necessary to spread a competitive gaming culture through an educational activity that doesn’t concern only the players, to educate them to a reasonable consumption of the gaming and technology, but also the parents, who must not look at these activities with suspicion, but must enhance their educational and aggregation aspects, in addition to the entertainment operators, who must understand that the future now comes through here”.
The Vituix manager, in reporting the US experience and telling what they are doing in territory such as Las Vegas, highlights how important it is to spread the knowledge of electronic sports among the general public and how it is useful in this sense the introduction of the Esports “subject” in university programs, in schools more generally but also in places of aggregation and worship.
The Vituix manager, in reporting the US experience and telling what they are doing in areas such as Las Vegas, highlights how important it is to spread the knowledge of electronic sports among the general public and how it is useful in this sense the introduction of the esport “subject” in university programs, in schools more generally but also in meeting and worship places.
While the other essential aspect for the affirmation of this new market is the investment in facilities: “Certainly, if virtual reality and the augmented one represent the main development drivers for gaming and entertainment, which will have a strong and directed impact also on esports, it is also clear that these technologies require investments not only in terms of product but also in terms of facilities”, Fankhaenel explains. “It is therefore essential to have appropriate and above all stable connettivity. With 5G which certainly represents an opportunity but already today, current technologies allow us to offer advanced experiences, but they must be present in arcades”.
Fantini is also particularly sensitive about this subject: “It is important to highlight what the operators of gaming rooms must do at this stage to be able to assure a future: to propose new gaming forms it is necessary to have connected rooms and dedicated staff, who is able to create, develop and manage players communities, which are the basis of competitive gaming”, the developer explains. “These requirements have never been necessary until today with the current forms of gaming for children, but from now on, taking into account the relationship of the very young with technology, they become essential because what young people of today and tomorrow expect are these evolved forms of gaming and no longer the traditional gaming. And the operators will have to be prepared.”
According to Ian Donegan, chief reporter for InterGame magazine and moderator of the debate: “There is no doubt that the future of amusement passes through this type of technology and competition. These phenomena are now part of the lives of young people and the entertainment industry can’t ignore them. We already see it today with the success that products such as Escape Rooms and the various virtual reality experiences are having and with the boom in esports in general. It is therefore an opportunity that the sector can’t miss out and we are already beginning to understand how they can be exploited”.
The gaming legal expert Cino Benelli explains the situation of ticket redemptions in Italy in the Gioconews.it panel organized at the EAG in London.
London – Italy in the spotlight, at the EAG in London, also as regards the so-called “Amusement” market: that is, that of pure entertainment, made up of videogames, pinball machines and foosball that everyone knows.
We talk about the panel organized by Gioconews.it entitled “Ticket redemptions: the future is at stake” and the legal gaming expert Cino Benelli explains the legislation in Italy, through his contribution.
The “ticket redemption” were introduced into Italian legislation by article 1, par. 475 of Law no. 228/2012 (the so-called “Giorgetti amendment”), which entered into force on January 1 st , 2013, and which defined these devices as “those, mechanical and electromechanical (…), which can be activated with money, with tokens or with other electronic payment instruments and which can distribute coupons directly and immediately after the game ends”. As it is known, these are widely distributed devices in public and commercial establishments in Italy and they are subject to the tax on entertainment (in Italian “imposta sugli intrattenimenti” or “I.S.I.”), which is periodically paid to the Revenue Agency by the sector’s operators. In reality, these machines have little to do with gambling, since they are devices of pure ability and do not pay out cash winnings. They distribute simple prizes, generally consisting in objects of modest value.
Even though more than seven years have passed since the entry into force of Law no. 228/2012 (January 1 st , 2013), the Italian State, through the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Customs Agency, has not yet issued the “technical rules” which should allow production, import, distribution, management and installation of the “ticket redemption”. Such “technical rules” should have been adopted by April 1 st , 2013, since Law no. 228/2012 expressly provided for their issue “within three months of the entry into force of this provision” (which, as mentioned, occurred on January 1 st , 2013). In fact, the Italian State has only transmitted to the European Commission (with notification no. 2016/211/I of May 9, 2016, carried out pursuant to Directive 2015/1535 / EU) a simple draft of technical regulations, which was not followed by the issue of regulatory acts by the national Administration. Such project also provides for an excessive and disproportionate regulation that does not take into account the current features of the “ticket redemption”, nor the provisions of Directive 2006/123/EC (the so-called “Bolkestein Directive”). In fact, being outside of the gambling sector, these machines could not be subject to a prior authorization regime or, in any case, to the same rules and penalties established by the Legislator in relation to slot machines and video lotteries.
The Italian State, with Decree-Law no. 4 of 2019, converted into Law no. 26 of 2019, decided to provide for the same treatment – consisting, in particular, in a pecuniary administrative penalty from € 5.000 to € 50.000 for each machine and from thirty to sixty days of forced business closure – both for those who produce, distribute, install or make available to the public such “ticket redemption”, as well as for those who produce, distribute, install or make available to the public illegal gambling machines. Such provision has irrationally placed on the same level some completely different devices, both in relation to their features and to their dangerousness. Although the central Authorities seem to consider – without expressly declaring it – the diffusion of the “ticket redemption” devices as prohibited, in the absence of the aforementioned technical rules (as we have seen, not yet established by the Financial Administration although more than seven years have passed since the entry into force of Law No. 228/2012), some regional Administrations (for example, the regions of Emilia Romagna, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Valle d’Aosta, Piedmont and Basilicata) and local Administrations (for example, the Municipality of Prato), on the assumption of the lawfulness of the “ticket redemption” and, in any case, of their tolerated placing in public and commercial establishments, have decided to forbid their use only by persons under the age of 18. In reality, if such devices were actually to be considered illegal, it would make no sense to provide for the ban of their use by persons under the age of 18 and, consequently, the question arises as to whether the “ticket redemption” machines can really be considered currently prohibited by Italian law. In truth, in the absence of serious and reliable scientific studies, it is not reasonable to consider these machines as unsafe for the consumers’ health and for persons under the age of 18. So much so that Article 5 of Decree-Law no. 158/2012, converted into Law no. 189/2012 (the so-called “Balduzzi Decree”) has expressly defined gambling disorder as a compulsive syndrome or addiction from game with cash winnings and, therefore, not from “ticket redemption” machines.