Ahead of this year’s EAG, chairman Martin Burlin talked to Coinslot about how the first exposition of the year provides attendees with the perfect event at which to assess the challenges of the previous year, and the opportunities of the future.
With decades of experience in the amusement sector behind him, and a hand on the tiller of EAG, Martin Burlin is well placed to take stock of how far the industry has come, and the direction in which it may be headed.
Speaking to Coinslot, the EAG chairman explained how the exhibition has evolved over ten years to reflect the rapidly growing market, and how this year’s show is set to deliver a diverse, innovative and far-reaching product selection.
“The scope of redemption continues to broaden, and we have higher value and hi-tech prizes,” said Burlin. “Licensed brands still feature strongly, both on games and on prize merchandise. They have played an important part in enhancing the out-of-home entertainment offering.”
“New technologies continue to be leveraged, not only to delight customers but also as a tool to improve business efficiency and to support social responsibility. The products showcased at EAG are now appealing to a wider leisure market as operators strive to keep a competitive edge and develop incremental revenue streams.”
With EAG now entering its second decade, its reputation as a springboard into the show season – and as a key showcase for brand new products – is still drawing hundreds of attendees and delegates from across the UK and beyond.
“The show is a platform; the industry continues to innovate and adapt and is very good at this. Our job is to maintain this platform through events, networking and delivery of a seminar programme that truly reflect the interests and needs of the industry.”
Though Burlin and his team’s job is to ensure EAG represents as many facets of the industry as possible, developments in the industry also shape how the exhibition is presented, with Burlin stating, “the show will inevitably become more hi-tech.”
“Even the most traditional offerings are adopting cashless payment technologies. I believe we’ll see more big-data solutions, enabling the gathering and understanding of information on customer behaviour and preferences.”
“Regarding gaming, I feel that compliance will stay in sharp focus, driving increasingly innovative software and hardware solutions.”
EAG’s position in the show calendar is also at a crucial point for operators to discuss regulation, policy and legislation that may affect business in the new year, something Burlin is keen to keep central to the exposition’s role, as the industry faces new challenges.
“From a commercial perspective, we need to be acutely aware of the increasing choice of home entertainment options as these may be our greatest competitors,” said Burlin.
“Poorly considered regulation may also be a threat to the long-term security of our business, as already evidenced in some European markets. It may not be easy, but we must work with government if we are to plan for the long-term.”
With a majority government supposedly keen to address the future of regulation now in Number Ten, and Brexit set to demand less legislative time as its actuality becomes clearer, Burlin added that 2020 could prove a positive year for the industry.
“I hope that these political factors will promote confidence in investment, throughout the economy. The possibility of enhanced trading terms outside the EU is also enticing.” “Domestically, it’s more difficult to predict; the government will have an incredibly busy timetable. The UK has, however, discovered the staycation and hopefully this positive trend will continue. Let’s hope that inbound tourism from the EU is not adversely affected.”