few days before the beginning of ELA 2012, Which are your expectations for this fifth edition?
From our organization, we have always used sincerity as one of our work tools. The perspectives turn into speculation so they will never be accurate. We believe that the international crisis that has left several European countries almost in financial bankruptcy has started to show its signs in 2012 in Latin America. With this, I want to say that maybe some important buyers will reduce their investments.
Besides, the terrorist attack against Casino Royale in Monterrey city has had important repercussions: some of them positive, oriented to the closure of illegal venues; and other negatives, in which the innocent paid for the sins of the sinners. SEGOB was forced to intervene in an inexorable way, and in this line, several casinos and manufacturers that complied with the strict legislation were affected.
Since March, it seems that the situation is maintaining a stable direction, and aims to benefit the gaming sector in the country. With regards to our trade event, it is totally occupied from the first days of April. Once more, we count with the support of most of the important companies that manufacture and operate in Mexico. Companies from Europe, South America, Central America and the Caribbean have again bet strongly on our exhibition. I also want to remark the participation of top-level US firms, as well as a quite large group from the host country, specialized in peripheral gaming industry.
What novelties will you present this year?
In my view, the novelties are presented by the exhibitors, which are the main actors of the exhibition. Please let me keep this information and let the companies that will participate at the show communicate the novelties whenever they consider appropriate. What I can anticipate is that there will be important novelties and most of them will be focused to the Mexican market.
What companies will have the largest booths?
This year, Spanish Zitro will have the largest exhibiting area with a total of 615 sqm. The second place will be for the group of Spanish-Brazilian companies Ortiz Gaming / Eibe Games, with 504 sqm. The third position is for Spanish firm R. Franco, with 288 sqm. The fourth place is for Brazilian FBM Gaming with 232 sqm, and the fifth place is for Brazilian company Shock Machine with 192 sqm.
Other stands with important dimensions have also been hired by German Merkur, Spanish-Mexican Metronia/Bemex and Ludicus-Zest Gaming or US firm Shuffle Master. US firm WMS will share its booth with Zitro, based in its international agreement of mutual collaboration that started in Las Vegas and continued in Buenos Aires, London and Madrid.
What companies will debut at the event?
Alekey, Axis, Bingo King, Cemsamex, DRGT, ESAC, Global Gaming & Systems, Grandview Products, International Gaming Solutions, Grupo Orenes, the British Embassy in Mexico, IMGL, Alladinos All-Play, Sistemas AWSC Entretenimiento and Miss Gaming Mexico.
Which are the attractions of the Mexican market for foreign companies that wish to invest in gaming?
The Mexican gaming market is quite complicated. First of all, it is a huge country with more than 120 million inhabitants and with hundreds of important cities. It means that companies think there is place for all of them and wish to install casinos or gambling venues in any of those places.
From my point of view, it is very important to consult very well in the law issues and know in deep the strange and obsolete norms that are still not changed in the country. In the same way, it is necessary to search for good contacts in the sector, both at a professional and political level in order to avoid fraud.
I always say that it is something similar to the the Conquest of the Far West on the 19th century. Many caravans and carts which left from the Eastern cities remained on the road, but those which arrived to their final objective made big fortunes.
Today Mexico is, together with the enclave of Macau and the city of Las Vegas, the place that registrates more economic transactions of purchase of gaming material. And with regards to the opening of new places, it occupies the first place in the worldwide ranking. Most of the commercial operations that are held in ELA reflect a number with many zeros behind.
How important is the support that SEGOB brings to the show?
ELA has counted from the beginning with the support of the authorities of the Mexican government, which has always got the discussion back on track through SEGOB. For political reasons, in some occasions, this support has been direct and tangible, such as in ELA 2010, when representatives of the Administration participated both in the exhibition and in the conferences organized within the event.
The fact of counting with the government approval is very important for our event. It shows that they understand our policy of creating a meeting point aimed to gather, for two days, businessmen, operators and manufacturers that defend legality. In ELA we have always been against illegal gaming, and we will continue doing this.
For this 2012 edition, the great news is that SEGOB, through the General Direction of Games and Draws and specifically with its general director, Lic. Araceli Barroso, will speak at the Keynote Lecture in EY! 2012 Encuentro Yogonet Mexico, held within ELA, and will also head the inaugural ceremony of ELA 2012.
What goals do you expect to achieve this year?
Our goal is the same than any other exhibition: that buyers and sellers have a place in which they can close their businesses. We offer a trade event and an organization which has been valued by the Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers (AGEM) with excellent qualifications.
In the research performed among its members last year, they have put us in the third place with London event and beyond other traditional exhibitions such as Las Vegas, Buenos Aires, Canada and Macau…
This qualification of ELA is still more outstanding if we consider that, among the 100 companies that are part of the AGEM no one is Latin American. For our exhibition it is a satisfaction that, year after year, the main exhibitors increase considerably the size of their booths.
One of our short-term goals is to attract, once more, the attention of US multinational firms that participated in 2010 and that we expect to be present in 2013. So far, I can anticipate that we have already had contacts that I value very positively.