When a strict ban on amusements hit France in 1983, the country’s industry was drastically reduced and left all but unrecognised by government. Now, with a new trade association, AFOR, Benjamin Duplan and fellow operators in France are making a bid to legalise redemption – with a little help from Bacta.
Bacta has been advising the new amusements industry – made up of only French amusement industry trade association, AFOR, as it directs a campaign to allow ticket redemption machines in the country.
Taking a trip across the channel, CEO John White and president Gabi Stergides visited AFOR’s Benjamin Duplan to share Bacta’s experience with redemption, which is currently extremely limited in France.
“We have the most restricted market in terms of amusements,” explained Duplan, owner of Saff Amusement,a family operating and distribution business near Lyon.
“We are currently only allowed to give away five credits per player, and that’s it. We believe the time is now right to extend this, but over here not many politicians know what redemption is.
“We’ve set up AFOR, our trade association, and we will be trying to lobby them to get redemption legalised. We are not asking for gambling, but we would like to report to a regulator and for redemption to which will in turn generate more tax and employment for France.”
Following the French elections last May, Duplan and AFOR president Marc Doumayrou identified an opportunity for the country’s be controlled, about 150 operators – to raise its case.
“We hope it will be a successful drive,” he continued, “but there are other actors in the market who will be trying to prevent redemption from being allowed. However, we still believe it’s something quite harmless, and it doesn’t need so much restriction.”
Although this potential opposition has not yet been met, Duplan suggested that it may be casinos and funfairs that push- back against AFOR’s aims. With much experience in both redemption and lobbying for industry change, White and Stergides worked with Euromat to share their knowledge with Duplan.
“Jason Frost invited myself and Gabi, because we have a sophisticated market, to just come across and share our experience of the market in the UK,” concluded White.
“We went over there and I gave a speech in my best French – although it’s not as good as it used to be!”
While AFOR’s campaign to legalise redemption in France is now under way, Duplan and his fellow operators still have a long way to go to before the country’s politicians recognise the benefits of a flourishing amusements industry.