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VIDEO LOTTERY TERMINALS W


ith VLTs linked on vast nationwide networks, is the next logical step a terminal that resides in a local venue but allows players to participate in Internet gambling?


According to Jens Göransson, founder of


Jensigame, “our company philosophy is to allow players to enjoy Internet gaming in traditional gaming locations”. With a range of cabinets allowing operators to use its Internet Lottery Terminal (ILT) in venues ranging from


casinos to arcades, Jensigame potentially provides a way for gaming businesses to combat the flight of customers to online.


But is it legal? The


Jens Go?ransson of JENSIgame with his support team Lars Nisser, Veronika Serdult and Szilvia Zsitva


Terminal twist


firm is adamant that there’s no conceptual difference between gaming on the Internet via an individual’s PC and playing on one of its terminals.


“We always comply with the European Union


gaming directives,” said Göransson. “However, if local governments enact regulations in their gaming market that do not comply with EU regulation, then we work very hard to enforce the true EU regulation.”


Indeed,


Jensigame has helped operators successfully resist what it describes as draconian local regulations in countries including Greece, Poland and Sweden.


percent, against 85 percent for VLTs. Both those factors, as well as the inherent convenience of online gaming, may pull some customers away from VLTs less than a year after their launch.


Indeed, it is believed that lobbying from VLT


networks persuaded the AAMS to delay the launch of online slots, although Poker and casino games will be available to Italian Internet users sooner. The VLT operators are also reportedly unhappy that they weren’t promised favoured treatment in applications for online licences.


Grecian 2011? Concerns and complaints about the VLT market,


though, are the exception. The launch has generally been so well received that Greece is expected to use the Italian model as a basis for its own introduction of VLTs – and some Italian operators, such as Lottomatica, are already looking east to the next new market.


Details haven’t been issued yet, but Greece is


expected to simultaneously regulate online gambling and VLTs, possibly giving the partly-state-owned betting company Opap the task of issuing VLT licences, and perhaps even granting it a temporary monopoly while that process is completed.


And although the Greek market is much smaller


than Italy’s – it has about a fifth of the population – the new systems could, if anything, make a bigger impact there. Slots are rare in Greece, which has just 5000 in its casinos and, according to estimates,


44 OCTOBER 2010


“…if it takes a different form and we have medium-sized casinos on every corner it will be much more harmful.”


Predicted Stephanos Theodorides, chief executive


of Greek casino operator Regency Entertainment: “If there are just a limited number of VLTs in specific outlets here and there with a maximum number of VLTs of 5000 to 10,000 machines it may not be that significant. We can expect a hit in the region of 10- 20 per cent – and over time we may get a new generation of players for our casinos. But if it takes a different form and we have medium-sized casinos on every corner then it will be much more harmful.”


Greek casinos’ loss might, of course, be other


gaming operators’ gain. And in the meantime there’s plenty of business to develop in Italy. Said Inspired’s Alvarez: “There is much talk about Greece as the next market to turn to VLTs. However, it sounds as though it still might be a few years away. The Italian market remains the most talked-about and most exciting opportunity at the moment, certainly in Europe and potentially the world.”


about the same number illegally installed elsewhere. So rather than an Italian-style situation where existing slot operators enhance their location with VLTs, the outcome in Greece could be the emergence of a new kind of gaming venue threatening casinos.


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