GERMAN STREET GAMING
limiting opening hours being used more as a political cause than for protecting players against possible misuse?
3.3 IS NOW 4.1 The German-way of co-determination is a major reason for the AWP industry’s success. The major players and lobbies interact professionally with politicians to bring fun, entertaining gaming to a broad public, and to gauge the political mood. It was wise for the industry to make the step from Gaming Ordinance 3.3 to 4.1. This is a voluntary measure that had to be implemented by 1st January 2011. The maximum single win has now been reduced to 1,000 euros and each AWP must cease playing for five minutes after one hour of continuous play. The challenge is the pay-off between creating fun games for players with strong cashbox revenue. If wins are too high, then the issue of problem gambling/ gambling addiction raises its head. This was the case under 3.3, which led the industry to move to 4.1. The German AWP industry should be applauded for its voluntary initiative, which maintains the status quo and helps to prevent random political activity as we have witnessed in several Eastern European countries.
IT’S STILL THE BIG TWO Last year we reported that the German AWP market was dominated by two players – the Gauselmann Group and the Novomatic Group of Companies (via Löwen Entertainment and Crown Technologies). This is still the case.
For those seeing the market drift off to a certain duopololy, rest assured – the German AWP market is extremely dynamic and what is the case today, may not be relevant for tomorrow. The new 4.1 ruling means that the cards have been mixed again. There are some foreign manufacturers making in-roads such as Amatic Industries from Austria, JVH from the Netherlands and Webak from Austria. New entrants are set to focus strongly on the German market – specifically, APEX gaming. We then turn to the traditional German manufacturer, Bally Wulff.
BALLY WULFF BELONGS TO THE SCHMIDTGRUPPE This was the big news being discussed on the first day of the show. What was assumed in the market place by a minority was confirmed at the beginning of the show – the SCHMIDTGRUPPE owns Bally Wulff. The equity owners of Bally Wulff - the Zugerberg 7th Asset Management plc from Switzerland - are the SCHMIDTGRUPPE shareholders (not including Ursula und Ulrich Schmidt). These shareholders will also be in future represented at BALLY WULFF by the Chief Representative Ulrich Schmidt.
The SCHMIDTGRUPPE is a major AWP operator in Germany with approx. 170 modern arcades – now referred to more as Entertainment Centres – under the names ‘Spielstube’ and ‘Spielstation’. More than 1,300 people work for the group, which is still rapidly expanding. The SCHMIDTGRUPPE is building what will be Germany’s largest arcade at present – a UFO-shaped, ultra-modern building in the city of Oberhausen which will have 12 concessions (144 AWPs). Oberhausen is only a few minutes drive from Duisburg where the German casino group Westspiel houses its flagship casino.
Bally Wulff not only now has a guaranteed major customer with the SCHMIDTGRUPPE, but a company that lives and breathes the industry. The shackles of non-gaming investment company disinterest, which characterised Bally Wulff over the past years, literally vanished overnight with the SCHMIDTGRUPPE announcement.
BALLY WULFF AT THE IMA Moving on to Bally Wulff at the IMA, there was definitely a more upbeat mood to the company at this year’s IMA. This stems not just from the fact that their owner is now known and from within the market, but, moreover, from a strong product range.
Bally Wulff had plenty to show over its 1,000 m² booth. The Action Star AWP range consists of both upright and slant top cabinets, the new addition being the Transformer slant top with top 26ins. monitors. Bally Wulff has tailored its games packages to different player types. The High Roller games package has games that raise the heartbeat of players who like the ‘roller coaster’ effect of gaming as the minimum stake is 20 euro cents. The more relaxed players would choose the MaxiPlay games package with varying bet possibilities at 5, 10 and 20 euro cents. The Trinity games package has 55 games, including games from ATRONIC and Aristocrat. The food and drinks sector tends to have a selected number of games on offer. Thus, the Action Star Select is the games package for this sector (with twelve games).
(Top) Frederick Bluhm from Crown Technologies. (Middle) adp
Gauselmann's Holger Schwarze is very pleased about the feedback. (Above) The Managing Directors of BALLY WULFF.
G3 I APRIL 2011 I PAGE 54
Bally Wulff is the German distributor for Amatic Industries. Amatic Industries took the opportunity to release the brand new Performer upright cabinet (with two 22ins. monitors) to the German market. With already several years of experience in the German AWP market, the German games package is considerable. Indeed, the Multiline Xtended games package consists of 52 games, 12 of which were brand new to the market.
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