he show had a definite upbeat atmosphere, contributed to by an increase in both exhibitors and visitors. This year's event had a very busy first day and busier than usual second day with many visitors returning on the Wednesday.
The number of exhibitors was up from 42 to 48 and the number of visitors by 5 percent. New exhibitors resulted in a greater variety of products being offered and additional visitors were made up of new entrants to the traditional amusement and gaming market, alongside visitors from the casino, betting and vending sectors.
The Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2006, which includes provisions designed to increase the legal limits on stake and prize money (to 0.50 and 30 euros) in gaming machines (AWPs) is currently at the Committee Stage in the Dáil (Parliament).
The Casino Committee has presented its report to the Minister For Justice and is awaiting his instructions to prepare legislation for Ireland's growing casino sector. It is also possible that the same committee may examine arcade gaming and other aspects of the gaming and betting business.
The show's sponsor IAEA - the Irish Amusement Equipment Association (Member of EUROMAT) held its AGM at show time. The association decided to change its name to the Irish Gaming & Amusement Association (IGAA) to better reflect developments
in the industry in recent years.
It was announced at the show that Shane Breaks is the fourth recipient of the Mary Openshaw Memorial Award For Excellence, which was inaugurated at AmEx 2004 in memory of the late Mary Openshaw, the renowned journalist who specialised in the international amusement industry.
The first recipient was Eduardo Antoja, President of EUROMAT - The European Gaming & Amusement Federation. The second was Mike Nevin, Managing Director of Namco Europe, and the third was Hans Rosenzweig, former President of EUROMAT. The award ceremony will take place later this year.
Amusement, novelty and redemption games continue to play an important role in the growing Irish coin-op market and jukeboxes, pool tables, video games, touchscreens, pushers, cranes, spares and accessories were included in the range of equipment presented. There was a wide variety of gaming equipment shown in anticipation of new regulations for AWPs and Casinos in Southern Ireland; also gaming products suitable for the very different Northern Ireland market and other international markets including Britain.
In addition to the exhibition there was a programme of seminars, meetings, business presentations and social gatherings, continuing the show's reputation for bringing together Irish and international manufacturers, distributors and operators in a businesslike atmosphere.
Technical Seminars included Ardac Elite Bill Acceptor by Ken Dharwar, Money Controls and Cash Audit Systems & Data Capture by Ray Hazelton, Hazel Electronics. In addition to exhibitor to visitor sales, AmEx also continued its role of fostering exhibitor to exhibitor sales and visitor to visitor sales.
Visitors from all over Ireland and further a field converged on Dublin, combining business activity and social events. The number of international visitors and exhibitors has increased considerably in recent years, to include companies from Britain, USA, Spain, Germany, Austria, France, Russia, Hungary, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Belgium, Japan, Italy, Poland and Slovenia.