ow is the show going out for you? What products are you showing at ICE?
It’s very good. The marketing has been really good, attendance looks good; we have a couple of very significant new product launches this year. I think that the one that our casino customers will be more interested in is our Epicentral Ticket Couponing System. We have enormous interest from clients across North America, South America, Europe for this product, built on pack of the TransAct Printing system.
We know that we have a very significant press release, which you will be receiving, which will describe another successful installation of 950 machines going live on such system. So, I think is going to be very significant. Everybody is looking now how can they market to the players instantly while they are sitting at the machine, and that is what Epicentral gives to the marketing campaign. So that’s good.
On the hardware side, we have new bill acceptors by JCM, an exciting roll out that offers much more security. And then new niche area products on TFT on top screen just designed to gain designers, to gain manufactures and operators. The goal is always to give players new experiences, to improve performance and to improve reliability as well. I think we have a very comprehensive range of products.
What are the most important markets for your company?
We are very strong throughout Europe and Africa; we have regional sales in Romania, Italy and Poland, and we have deals locally with both operators and manufacturers. We have strong performances in a number of markets, France, Switzerland, Czech Republic, in particular, Spain, VLT operations in Italy generating good revenues for us also. And of course we are looking very carefully at the UK, gaming developments in Hungary and in Greece, where we expect VLT will be active this year as well. So, for us from our position profile, marketing couponing, hardware connected with bill acceptors and tickets. We think this is the way that gaming is tending to move. We feel we are in a strong position in the market.
What can you tell me about the crisis in Europe?
I think it is a micro problem that clearly needs us to be aware of. Governments will be looking to raise revenues in any way that they can. I think despite the complications, the Italian VLT project raised a lot of revenue for the Italian government, in terms of the sale of the licenses. I imagine that other governments in Europe placing similar budget issues will be encouraged to reproduce that system because it is a way of raising revenue directly without selling assets.
So, that may well be a factor?
We certainly noted it appears to be a factor in the timing of the Greek government progress of the VLT. I think customers are finding that cash is difficult to obtain from their traditional sources, either their customers paying them on time or the bankers providing them with operating capital. From Europe point of view, I think there will be a growth this year, but at the same time, we are considering the growth will be available but we might be choosing not to accept every contract that we might win if there is a risk attached.
Are you looking for other markets?
We are certainly thinking that the formula that we have developed here in Europe and Africa could well export. I think we have a very good range of products and services, with one of the largest service companies in Europe now, with more than 50,000 components being repaired a year for our customers. Yes, we are certainly exploring whether or not other global gaming markets will be suitable locations for us to position ourselves.