Euromat: ‘Innovation comes through creativity and dialogue’

Euromat: ‘Innovation comes through creativity and dialogue’

Tuesday, March 21, 2017
The third Euromat Gaming Summit takes place in Berlin on 1 June

On 1 June 2017, Euromat will host the third edition of its annual Gaming Summit. Three months ahead of the event, TotallyGaming.com caught up with the association’s secretary general, Kieran O’Keeffe, who outlined why this year’s conference in Berlin is set to be the most important to date.

Established in 1979, the European Gaming and Amusement Federation (Euromat) has positioned itself as the voice of the European gaming industry. Through a network of affiliated national associations, the group represents private sector operators of gaming machines and the manufacturers that supply them.

Today, Euromat has 15 national member associations from 11 European countries. And according to the association’s secretary general, Kieran O’Keeffe, co-operation between member states is now more important than ever.

“We all need to learn from each other,” O’Keeffe told TotallyGaming.com. “Although there are regulatory differences between nations, from a commercial point of view the challenges the industry faces are very similar across Europe. The regulators are all talking to each other, so it makes sense that the industry does this on a regular basis, too.”

The secretary general’s comments came three months ahead of the third annual Euromat Gaming Summit. Due to take place in Berlin on 1 June, the event this year will be hosted in partnership with Euromat’s German member and sister association, Deutsche Automatenwirtschaft (DAW).

Discussing the rationale behind the Gaming Summit and the event’s growth since 2015, O’Keeffe said: “Innovation comes through creativity and dialogue, and I think that’s why it’s important for the industry to get together – to share best practices and discuss what’s working and, possibly, what isn’t working.

“The Gaming Summit is there to help facilitate this dialogue and to act as a focus point for the industry to come together each year. There are, of course, other places to talk about gambling across the board, but not so much in relation to the type of gambling we represent. There are some unique challenges in land-based, low-stakes gaming that other sectors don’t have to deal with, and this is the niche we are here to serve.”

From the first edition of the Gaming Summit in Amsterdam to last year’s event in Barcelona, the Gaming Summit has hosted many high-profile speakers and panellists – from politicians and regulators to operators and psychologists. And this year, according to O’Keeffe, delegates will be presented with yet another prestigious line-up of guests.

“The show in 2017 will include keynotes from the heads of Euromat and DAW, and also a political keynote from German MEP, Alexander Graf Lambsdorff,” he stated. “Alexander has taken a strong interest in gaming issues over the past few years.”

As Euromat puts the finishing touches to the conference programme, O’Keeffe said the event will cover a wide range of important issues currently facing the land-based gaming sector – particularly that of cashless payments.

“The one issue which is becoming increasingly important in the industry is the status of cash on the marketplace,” O’Keeffe stated. “Society is changing. Over the past 12 months, Denmark has become the first cashless society with the government imposing restrictions on cash transactions.”

He added: “I think, in the end, the writing is on the wall for cash. Traditionally, our industry has been quite cash-based, and – contrary to Denmark – in some member states there are strict limitations on electronic payments.

“One issue that is growing in significance is the squeeze that this causes. We have a situation where we have cash having a diminishing presence in the market. A lot of consumers, particularly young consumers, don’t like using cash, they prefer electronic payment. And regulators, on the other hand, are often not terribly keen on the idea that we, as a traditionally cash-based industry would transfer to card-based payments or other forms of electronic payment.”

According to O’Keeffe, Euromat will be working with its membership and governments on how to solve this problem. “We are a heavily regulated industry. Why should a highly-regulated industry not be in a position to address a market trend?”

He added: “Discussions are happening in a number of different places. Some member states are perhaps further forward in their discussions than others, but Euromat is here to support, coordinate and be an advocate for all our members. This industry should be allowed to adapt like any other.”

Totally Gaming says: In just three years, the Euromat Gaming Summit has established itself as a must-attend event for land-based gaming industry executives. From Brexit to cashless payments, the summit will tackle a wide range of issues currently facing the industry in 2017. Dialogue between member states is perhaps more important than ever, and Berlin will be the place to be for those looking to explore the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

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