Several regions across Italy have recently ‘banned’ ticket redemption games, considering these games to fall under the classification of a ‘gambling device’. Italian amusement game operators continue their on-going legal battle to once and for all exempt skill amusement games country-wide from the broad definitions of gambling machines, that are a completely different animal.
Reported by InterFun: “As a result, a number of senior arcade operators in Italy distanced themselves from the gambling machine market and even withdrew from the annual AWP-dominated Enada trade show. Instead, they held their own [trade show], dubbed FEE, and have taken on [retained] The University of Rome to provide an in-depth study of ticket redemption to independently exhibit that it is not gambling.
Last week, in concert with the national trade association, SAPAR and other interested trade bodies, including the new association ASGI, met in Rome to discuss progress.” EUROMAT (European Gaming and Amusement Federation) sent a delegation.
At this gathering, it was announced that the first phase of the study titled “Behaviour of Users of Games With and Without Ticket Redemption,” will be presented on March 12. EUROMAT has scheduled one of its meetings to take place concurrently with the University of Rome presentation that will take place at the beginning of the Rimini Amusement Expo.
It should be noted that France has also banned ticket redemption games. Most of the major trade associations in Europe that represent gaming as well as amusements are highly motivated to combine their knowledge and present it to the appropriate legislators. We are informed that Germany, UK, Croatia, and the Netherlands will be well represented.
Alessandro Lama, the spokesman for Consorzio FEE, said: “European policy on ticket redemption must be a common one. This project will be repeated in Rimini with the presentation of the first phase of the study conducted by the university. Today the importance of monitoring the rights of children attending arcades and those of the entrepreneurs in the sector, all need legislative certainty to operate in a clear and healthy market. This is being highlighted. It is the sector itself that must assure the quality of the offer with a controlled and protected environment.”
What this could mean? I have been involved my entire business career (49 years) in fighting unfavorable legislation that first placed high licenses on video games, limited their placement to a few games per location, and in some instances outright banned them. Over time, our great industry, through its two great national associations AMOA and AAMA, has together fought many legal battles, separating the amusement game industry from the home game industry, by self-regulating content, creating fair and transparent age appropriate labeling practices, and ultimately swayed public opinion.
The same legal battles have been and are taking place within the redemption game and crane machine sectors. As a result, skill redemption and skill crane machines (even with maximum prize limits in many states, are thriving in the U.S. and the gambling industry is still expanding and growing in leaps in bounds.
The key here is ‘education’. Redemption games are not only fun for all, but are often a way for players to learn and develop skills through hand/eye coordination, brain development by solving strategic challenges, and learning how to save manage their points to redeem them for a desired prize in the future rather than fall pray to ‘instant gratification’. It is the job of our industry trade associations to lead this education battle, and the amusement game operators in Italy are to be commended for breaking off and starting this process. I also commend EUROMAT for taking on this challenge. EUROMAT represents ‘Social Responsibility in Gaming’ and has 18 national member associations from 12 European countries, as well as four corporate members.