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GLOBAL GAMES 2009, Part X: Euro Games Technology

Global Vision: EGT continues its expansion to Western Europe and the Americas

GLOBAL GAMES 2009, Part X: Euro Games Technology

Euro Games Technology this year continues its journey west.

Already well-established in its home base of Bulgaria, the Sofia-based company, begun in 2002, began international expansion before the economic downturn hit its main Eastern European market-and well before the loss of Ukraine, one of its strongest markets, earlier this year.

According to Ivelina Mihaleva, the company’s deputy director for international offices, EGT began expanding westward immediately upon the opening last year of its new headquarters and manufacturing facility in Sofia. The hope is to export the company’s success in Eastern Europe, where its role as a supplier was supplemented last year by the launch of its own casino chain, with locations in Romania and Georgia.

“Our main focus since moving into our new offices has been to expand internationally,” Mihaleva says, noting that the effort has accelerated as business has slowed in its main markets of Bulgaria and Romania, and of course, Ukraine. (The company has offices in Romania, Ukraine, Hungary and Georgia.)

The main focus of international expansion has been Latin America, Western Europe, Asia and South Africa. Aside from Asia-where new opportunity in Singapore, the Philippines and elsewhere has been offset by new government restrictions in Macau- Mihaleva says new orders have spurred additional growth in most new worldwide markets.

The company’s products are drawing good reviews in South American markets such as Argentina and Peru. EGT depends on partnerships with local distributors to get its games in front of operators in other parts of the world.

“Local companies know the market, they know the clients, and they give us quick reach into new areas,” says Mihaleva.

The company’s products are certified by Gaming Laboratories International in Latin America and Asia, and are currently before GLI in the U.S.

By the Global Gaming Expo, Mihaleva says, EGT is expected to be ready for product launches in North America, beginning with California.


Product Strategy
The company’s strategy in expanding into new markets is to replicate what has been successful in Eastern Europe. That means “Vega Vision,” an award-winning video slot platform, will be on full display at Global Gaming Expo, as well as the slanttop version of “Vega Vision+,” a wide-screen format featuring a 22-inch main screen and a 26-inch top LCD monitor, all wrapped up in an advanced ergonomic design.

Mihaleva says the Vega Vision platform, in combination with a total of 30 approved video slot games, is already performing well in all of the company’s markets.

G2E will mark the launch of the upright version of Vega Vision+. In addition to the wider presentation, the new format features higher video resolution and more tech-friendly functionality. It won the award for “best new video slot game design” at the recent Eastern European Gaming Summit.

At G2E, the company will be launching five new games for the Vega Vision+, and the Vega Vision series in general:

“Rise of Ra II” is a new version of what has been one of EGT’s most successful video slots. It is a highly volatile 15-line video slot designed for low denominations. Other new titles include “2 Dragons,” a 20-line game featuring beautiful artwork; the African-themed 20-line game “Wild Savanna;” “The Great Egypt,” which has a unique 10-line configuration; and one other to be revealed at the show.

At press time, the company was perfecting its next big product release. “Vega Vision Multi-1” is a multi-game version of the Vega Vision+ format. It will feature a choice from among eight games and different denominations, with the option for the addition of progressive jackpots.

EGT also will display its line of multi-player electronic table games at the show, including a sixplayer electronic blackjack game, an eight-player auto-roulette unit, and its newest offering, “Vega PS.”

Vega PS—for Play Station—is a system of individual player terminals linked to either a live roulette wheel with a video camera or an automated roulette wheel. According to Mihaleva, the system allows an unlimited number of terminals to be linked to a single roulette game.

Mihaleva anticipates the company opening offices both in North America and South America soon, part of what she says is EGT’s goal to become a major player worldwide over the next five years.

“Our quality is high enough to take us to the highest rungs of the gaming industry, like IGT,Bally, Novomatic and Williams,” Mihaleva says.

“The thing that makes us special is the price. We’vegot the quality, we’ve got perfect customer service, but the price is quite reasonable. In these difficult times, I would say price matters.”

G2E will be the next opportunity for EGT to show its complete package to operators.

Frank Legato is editor of Global Gaming Business magazine. He has been writing on gaming topics since 1984, when he launched and served as editor of Casino Gaming magazine. Legato, a nationally recognized expert on slot machines, has served as editor and reporter for a variety of gaming publications, including Public Gaming, IGWB, Casino Journal, Casino Player, Strictly Slots and Atlantic City Insider. He has an B.A. in journalism and an M.A. in communications from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA. He is the author of the books, How To Win Millions Playing Slot Machines... Or Lose Trying, and Atlantic City: In Living Color.