Burlin (Eag Expo): 'For gaming and entertainment the year starts here'

16 January 2024 - 10:05

Martin Burlin, president of Eag Expo, explains the news of the London event which starts 2024, indicating, as usual, the development guidelines of the sector.

Written by Dd
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“Eag is as important to the amusements sector as February’s Milan Fashion Show is to haute couture”. Martin Burlin, president of Eag Expo, says it. We asked to him for some details on what is the first trade fair of the year for the gaming and entertainment industry, anticipating the upcoming exhibition (the appointment is at the ExCeL in London from today, January 16th until 18th). 

Mr Burlin, can you explain us this 2024 edition of the Eag Expo, which you launched with the claim '”he Year Starts Here”?
“As the world’s only business-to-business exhibition which brings together low-stake land-based gaming, bingo and out of home pay-to-play amusements, Eag sets the tone for the year ahead attracting thousands of buyers drawn from all sectors of the industry including bingo clubs, family entertainment centres, adult gaming centres, piers, visitor attractions, bars, clubs and bowling centres – amongst many others. Speaking with both Eag exhibitors and with many visitors, during and after the 2023 show, it became clear that both groups see Eag as being central to the year ahead. The conversations which take place in January at ExCeL, London to a large extent will sign-post the industry’s direction of travel for the remainder of 2024. There are more than 120 brands represented on stands at Eag and all of them timetable their R&D programmes so that products can be unveiled at show - which explains why Eag represents such a trusted resource for buyers and why for them the year starts when the doors open on Eag.”

How important is it for you to be the first annual event in the sector?
“For the reasons I’ve highlighted it’s really important for Eag being the first amusement and gaming expo of the year. Historically, it meant that operators could order their games in time for Easter delivery and to a large extent the show set the commercial rhythm of the year. Coming at the start of the year, Eag provides a meeting place for the industry, a place where operators can plan their year ahead and where games creators launch their new ranges. I would say that Eag is as important to the amusements sector as February’s Milan Fashion Show is to haute couture.”

Who will be the main guests who will be present in this edition of Eag Expo?
“I am delighted to be able to confirm that Lord McNicol a leading member of the official opposition Labour Party has agreed to open Eag 2024. Lord McNicol, who served as General Secretary of the Labour Party between 2011 and 2018 is the current Labour Party spokesperson on Business and Trade. I think it is very important that we are able to use Eag to showcase the industry to an influential politician such as Lord McNicol. I am looking forward to meeting Lord McNicol, showing him around Eag, introducing him to exhibitors and explaining the huge contributions the amusement and low stake gaming sectors make to to the economy at local, regional and national levels. In addition to Lord McNicol, we will also have Paul Bellringer Obe as a Vip guest at Eag. Paul, who is widely regarded as being the pioneer of safer gambling in the Uk and was the person responsible for launching GamCare in 1997, will be opening the Bacta Safer Gambling Hub, which is a key feature of the Eag show floor. Bacta, the Uk trade association and owners of Eag, has also invited a number of international trade bodies to help celebrate its 50th year at show.”

Can you give us some numbers to better understand the size of the event?
“The show floor at what is the premier business, learning and networking event for the Uk amusements and low-stake gaming sectors is amost full. A few days away from opening we are on track to reach its full capacity, which exceeds 4,800 m2. The roll-call of 2024 exhibitors features leading brands including Astrosystems, Bandai Namco Amusement Europe, Blueprint Operations, Crown Leisure, Electrocoin, E-Service (Europe), Inspired Entertainment, Instance Automatics, Novomatic Gaming, Nsm Music, Playsafe Systems, Pms International Group, Reflex Gaming, Sb Machines, Sega Amusements International, TouchTunes Uk, Udc and Whitehouse Leisure International confirming Eag’s status as the event which operators look to for inspiration and the place to source the very latest product innovations across both amusements and low-stake gaming. Eag is ready to answer the needs of the entire industry and the 4,000+ operators expected at Eag will have the opportunity to access the very latest product launches and innovations from over 120 leading brands covering every product sector, meet with industry colleagues, keep ahead of social responsibility issues at the bacta Safer Gambling Hub, take advantage of bacta’s easy to access seminar programme and of course be part of bacta’s 50th celebrations which are being launched at Eag.”

Bingo seems to be back in fashion recently, how will this game be represented at Eag?
“Delivering a compelling show floor which reflects the dynamism of the industry has been a central objective and bingo is a really important part of the Eag experience. Rather than have bingo suppliers located throughout the exhibition, by working with our customers and with the help of the Bingo Association we have created a central point where visitors with a special interest in bingo can meet and do business. There has always been a cross-over between bingo on the one hand and the amusements/low stake gaming sectors on the other. It makes infinite sense to harness that synergy and create a dedicated area where the bingo industry can meet and access the key suppliers. I am delighted that we have been able to collaborate with our colleagues at the Bingo Association in such a positive way and the feature will continue to go from strength to strength.”

Returning to a more general discussion, how important is the location, a city like London in this case, for an event like Eag Expo?
London has been the home of Eag and its predecessor Ate since the show was launched back in 1936. The only break in that run was in 1981 when Ate had to relocate to Birmingham following a fire at Alexandra Palace. London offers a lot in terms of both heritage and hospitality and the journey from central London to Eag’s home at ExCeL London has been transformed following the opening of the Elizabeth Line. The new 21st century travel experience means that Eag visitors can make the door-to-door journey from Bond Street to the ExCeL exhibition centre in less than 25-minutes. Offering a choice of 12 trains an hour the Elizabeth Line provides a direct 43-minute connection from Heathrow. This is in addition to City Airport which is a 5-minute taxi ride to ExCeL London.”

In conclusion, can you tell us what are the new entertainment trends that are emerging in this historical moment and how will they be protagonists of Eag Expo 2024?
“The key feature of Eag is that it is the only major expo which brings the worlds of amusements, low-stake gaming and bingo together under one roof. What this means is that Eag visitors will have access to the very latest trends, technologies and interpretations across all three sectors. In terms of the overarching consumer trends, we know that players demand to be entertained in a way that goes beyond what they can do online, we know that families want to create fun memories and we know that everyone wants value for money from their entertainment spend. We also know that our exhibitors will be attending Eag armed with the very latest products and technologies designed to address all of these objectives and provide operators with access to the game-changing products which can be business-defining. Weaving these elements together in a social but professional environment is what Eag is all about.

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