The new decree for Redemption Games in Comunidad de Madrid was finally published last week. After many discussions, it was basically decided that any redemption games that have ‘handles’ to start the game have to be removed.

Joe Camarota, COO of Alpha-Omega Amusements & Sales, reminded us that, “In the US, especially in Connecticut based casinos, if one is to operate a redemption game on those premises, it must not have a handle. An example of that was Skeeball’s ‘Spin N Win’. They produced a model with a button start [and eliminated the handle].”

Joe’s comments, along with supporting information from Pete Gustafson, Executive Vice President AAMA who sent over AAMA’s Code of Conduct [that ‘essentially says that as an AAMA member, you agree to present amusement games that do not defraud players’ – Pete], and IAAPA’s EMEA and EUROMAT’s statements on New Gaming Regulations in Spain.

The following are excerpts from the EMEA and EUROMAT letter signed by Jason Frost, President EUROMAT and Jakob Wahl, Executive Director
IAAPA Europe, Middle East, Africa:

“The European industry is deeply concerned about Decree/2019 Amendment to Decree 73/2009 of July 30 approving the regulation of recreational and gaming machines and of the decree 106/2006 of November 30 which approves the regulation of bets in the community of Madrid.

Of particular concern is the removal of machines for children or sports games with prizes, known as redemption games, from Section (d) of Article 3. This brings these machines into the scope of highly inappropriate regulation.

Redemption machines are games of skill, from which the player can obtain a reward which is proportional to their score. Rewards can come in the form of non-cash prizes directly or they can come in the form of tickets which can be redeemed for prizes of varying value. They are a long-established amusement game suitable for family leisure environments and are commonplace across Europe, the Middle East, the United States, and Asia.

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We strongly believe that policymakers should act based on evidence. In this case, there is no evidence to suggest that redemption machines pose any risk to players. Where there has been a thorough examination of the risks associated with redemption machines these have failed to identify any risk. For example, the Dutch Kansspelautoriteit published a report in January of last year which reached this conclusion. France, a country which currently limits redemption machines to traveling funfairs, is now discussing legislation to lift this restriction and open the market for Family Entertain Centers in the country.

However, while the evidence of risk does not exist, we do recognize that there is a need to be sensitive to the family environment in which redemption machines are operated. For this reason, EUROMAT is currently working with the global manufacturing industry for these machines to establish a Code of Conduct, which together we will promote with operators. EUROMAT is also supporting European-wide research into the risk of redemption machines which should conclude later this year. We are not complacent; if there is a genuine risk, then we want to understand it and manage it, but we need the evidence first in order to act.

What this could mean? It appears that common-sense has prevailed in Spain but there are certainly lessons to be learned. My experience goes back only 50 years as I entered an industry where pinball machines were banned in certain areas of the US and ‘add-a-ball’ versions were permitted in other areas. Video games were limited to 2 or 3 games per location with outrageous license fees as high as $500/game (NJ).

Next came the video violence craze where politicians could make headlines by endorsing bills with outright bans of video games [AMOA/AAMA won that famous case based on First Amendment rights-but common-sense is always the best course].  We then saw redemption game bans and then crane prize limits (ongoing). Through it all were lawsuits against golf hole in million-dollar prize awards, with skill vs chance court briefs for each side piled several feet high and neither side being able to actually conclude if getting a hole in one is skill or chance or always a combination.

Redemption games were recently legalized in Vietnam and my company had the honor of being the first to introduce western-style redemption games to the city of Danang. All of the games brought over were ‘predominantly skill’. I use the word predominantly because everyone knows what that means. Even a basketball game has a small element of chance as even the best professional basketball player can miss a shot due to a chance breeze of air, the loud voice of a fan, or maybe even a chance thought of a previously missed shot.

What I really wanted to say:  Thank you AAMA, AMOA, IAAPA, EUROMAT & EMEA for your help. All of our industry associations are critical to our industry’s success. If you are not a member of one or more, what are you waiting for?

 

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