DÜSSELDORF, Germany -- The 28th IMA international trade fair for amusement and vending machines, held here in mid-January, closed on a high note, the show’s organizers report. While ordering for such core products as gambling machines with cash-prize options was restrained, following two strong years, the change in the framework of the German coin machine business following passage of a Gambling Ordinance in 2006 is continuing, and the industry considers itself very well prepared for the future.
Much of the restraint in ordering was occasioned by the international difficulties experienced by financial markets, according to the chairmen of the German coin industry association VDAI (Verband der Deutschen Automatenindustrie). Paul Gauselmann, Gauselmann Gruppe, who chairs the association, and Uwe Christiansen of NSM AG, chairman of its music and games section, noted that operators of gaming establishments wishing to invest in new, larger equipment often find it difficult to finance this expansion since banks have become cautious about lending. As a result, credit arrangements primarily are made with industry partners; the proportion of machines financed through leasing or rental arrangements, which stood at 70% before this year’s IMA opened its doors, has risen substantially.
The new opportunities created by the Gambling Ordinance, and consequent efforts by game designers, have given the industry enormous creative impetus, the show’s organizers explained. By refining and modernizing gambling law, the Ordinance (considered long overdue) has enabled the German industry to adapt to the broader European market. The focus today is on screen-based designs that offer a range of appealing games (“games packages”), and these versatile machines are supplementing the familiar cylinder- and wheel-based types.
New at this year’s IMA were the first games redesigned to conform to new regulations issued by the Federal Ministry for Economics, which specify a limit on the amount that may be won. That redesign is required in order for the piece to receive the imprimatur of the licensing authority Physicalisch Technische Bundesanstalt.
Contributing to the upbeat mood at the close of the 2009 show was the report by the show’s administration, Reed Exhibitions Düsseldorf, that attendance this year approximately equaled the 2008 figure of 8,639 registrants, despite snow and freezing rain that affected travel.
Information on the show can be found online at ima-messe.com.