The renowned Spanish playing card manufacturer, Fournier, marks its sesquicentennial year at ICE London 2020 with the launch of four commemorative decks designed by four top illustrators. The company’s International Sales Manager Roberto Perea, speaks on their past, present and future ahead of a year of celebration and innovation…
The number of companies who achieve this kind of legacy is very exclusive, what’s been the key to your success for all these years?
From the very beginning of the company, Heraclio Fournier, our founder, had two ‘obsessions’ in mind – being the best and being different to competitors. He did that by refining the product constantly, by bringing printing technologies that were revolutionary at the time and by working with renowned illustrators which created a unique design for the Spanish deck that is still the standard in Spain and Latin American countries to this day. His appetite for innovation, and in a certain way ‘rule breaking’, made him bring the phone, the car, the train and even the plane to Vitoria, where Fournier is still based. He also was a precursor in recruiting women at a time when women’s presence was not significant in the industry.
How have you kept on top of trends within the casino equipment sector especially in recent years as digital continues to grow?
Aside from our quality we have kept on top by continuously bringing new products to the market in order to accommodate the changing needs. For instance we were the first company back in 1993 to produce 100% Plastic Playing cards as paper playing cards could not work properly in the shuffling machines that were used at the time. On the other hand it is true gambling sector has changed significantly in the last 10-15 years but the basics are still there. Why do people play? Because they want to feel emotion and because they want to go through a unique experience, outside of their daily routine. Live gaming brings an unparalleled experience as you can share your experience and your emotions with other people, face-to-face and no screens in between. Wow… that’s powerful, isn’t it?
In terms of your historic anniversary in 2020, what product ranges have been the most successful in the company’s history and how will you be continuing these successes going forward?
In terms of sales I would say both our paper and 100% Plastic playing cards are extremely successful. However, in the last decade, a special mention goes to our Bee-tek Electronic Shoe and our Pre-Shuffled playing cards, which have become a standard for Baccarat and the golden standard for their category, bringing speed and security to the game. Our key for success in the coming years remains the same – passion for what we do and an appetite for innovation.
You are exhibiting again at this year’s ICE London, how many years have you been attending the show and do you have anything special you’ll be showcasing in 2020 as the industry prepares to Step into the Future?
In my case this year will mark my 14th edition. As Fournier, we have been exhibiting at ICE since the very beginning. In the first years alongside John Huxley, who was our global distributors to casinos at the time, and since 2002 with our own booth. For ICE 2020 we will showcase our core products: Fournier and Bee playing cards, our Pre-Shuffled cards and our Bee-tek Electronic Shoe. The latter has proved an amazing tool to bridge the gap between on-line and land based gaming.
Going into your 150th year how do you hope to develop the brand to remain future-proof?
Future is certainly uncertain by nature. However, one thing is for sure, we will keep working everyday as we have done for the last 150 years. We will keep listening to our customers and we will put together our skills and brains to offer the products they need to succeed. Since January 1, 2020 we are now part of the Cartamundi group with whom we share the same values, so the future looks bright.
Looking ahead to your 200th anniversary, where you do you see the casino and gaming industry progressing in the next 50 years and what are your hopes for Fournier?I am not a visionary but considering the path that the industry has taken in recent years, I personally believe the future will see casinos legalised in more countries such as Brazil and on-line gambling being authorised in more jurisdictions. On the other hand digital, online and land-based casinos will co-exist as each of them satisfies a different need. Therefore operators will offer a combined product portfolio that will integrate remote and land-based gaming. Playing card games in any format will be still there as the magic that is shared around a deck of cards cannot be matched anywhere else. And Fournier will celebrate its 200th anniversary with the same passion as we celebrate our 150th anniversary, by uniting people and saying, let’s play together!
Pace-O-Matic Congratulates Casino Industry on Record Profits
Pace-O-Matic, the leading name in skill game entertainment, is tipping its hat to the fat cats of the gambling world for yet another record-breaking year. The United States casino industry recently reported a record $66.5 billion in winnings for 2023.
That includes Pennsylvania, the second largest casino market in the country behind Nevada. While casino reps curiously blame skill games for ‘losses’, in 2023 Pennsylvania casinos brought in a record $5.7 billion in revenue from gambling. That equates to a 9.3% increase year over year.
“On behalf of the local small businesses, restaurants, bars and fraternal organizations that the casino industry is determined to put out of business, we extend the warmest congratulations to big casinos for their $66.5 billion in winnings,” the Chief Public Affairs Officer for Pace-O-Matic, Michael Barley, said. “It’s not every day you see such record profits. Now our only question is, where are these losses the industry and, specifically casinos in Pennsylvania, are claiming to be connected to skill games?”
The Pennsylvania casino industry also saw a 28% increase in iGaming year over year as well as a 4.08% increase in slot machine revenue last month across the Commonwealth over last year.
Regardless of what big casinos say, Pace-O-Matic remains committed to its mission of providing engaging skill-based entertainment to players while supporting the heart and soul of America; local small businesses. Skill games bring supplemental, sustainable income to bars, restaurants, VFW halls, American Legion posts and other small businesses across Pennsylvania. These businesses use income from skill games to pay bills, make charitable donations, provide health benefits, pay competitive wages and more.
“The casino industry continues to attack skill games for loss of revenue yet these losses don’t seem to appear in any of their reporting,” Barley said. “While they spin misleading information, we will stick to the facts. The fact is, that skill games are a legal source of income that Pennsylvania’s small businesses rely on every day to make ends meet.”
On the heels of a unanimous Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania ruling that found skill games to be legal and Governor Josh Shapiro including skill game revenue in his 2024/25 budget, it’s clear that support for regulating skill games is growing among lawmakers and the public. Pennsylvania State Senator Gene Yaw has proposed legislation, Senate Bill 706, that would tax and regulate skill games, establishing a framework for the legal games to continue to operate.
Pace-O-Matic is a leading developer of legally compliant games of skill in the United States. Its games are played in thousands of small restaurants and bars along with many social halls such as American Legion and Veterans of Foreign War (VFW) posts. Pace-O-Matic games generated millions of dollars in revenue for businesses and clubs in Pennsylvania last year.
DAZN Appoints Brice Daumin as CEO of French and Swiss Operations
DAZN Group, the world’s leading sports streaming service, announced the appointment of Brice Daumin as CEO of its French and Swiss operations. Daumin will oversee DAZN’s growth strategy in France, using his experience and knowledge of the French market garnered over 25 plus years in the French media and telecoms industries.
The move further underlines DAZN’s commitment to France after its launch in August 2023. DAZN brings its French subscribers the best of combat sports including a weekly schedule of top-quality boxing, MMA with the Professional Fighters League and PFL Europe featuring world-class fighters such as Francis Ngannou and Cédric Doumbé, huge PPV boxing line-ups featuring Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua, such as “Day of Reckoning”. DAZN also brings its customers top-tier football including Ligue 1 Uber Eats, and the UEFA Women’s Champions League.
DAZN has also delivered a distribution strategy, striking deals with prominent telco and cable operators, to ensure as many French sports fans can access DAZN’s compelling catalogue of premium live sports content, magazine programming, archive and other sports entertainment products. Daumin will report directly to Alice Mascia, whose group responsibilities include her roles as Group Chief Marketing Officer and CEO of DACH.
Shay Segev, CEO of DAZN Group, said: “DAZN’s global sports offering expanded into France last year and we’re excited to announce that Brice Daumin is joining our team to help us grow in this evolving market. With his extensive in-market experience across our strategic imperatives – customer focus, commercial development, and distribution – Brice will play a key role in our long-term development in France. This is a clear statement of DAZN’s commitment to France and our ambition to continue growing in this exciting sports entertainment market.”
Brice Daumin, CEO of DAZN France, said: “This was an easy decision for me to make. DAZN has already demonstrated its offer right across Europe, with its operations in Belgium, Germany, Italy, Portugal and Spain. Working with the biggest rights holder, in local markets and on a global level, DAZN delivers a fantastic service in a way that works for fans and rights holders. The opportunities for further growth in France are clear, especially when you look at the expanding range of sports entertainment products DAZN is creating – e-commerce, ticketing, social experiences and gaming. The French sports fan is ready for a new experience, one that DAZN will deliver.”
Clarion Gaming Digital Expands North American Reach with Global Gaming Business Acquisition
iGaming Business (iGB) parent company Clarion Gaming Digital has acquired Global Gaming Business (GGB) as it accelerates its growth strategy across North America.
The purchase includes GGB magazine’s annual publications Casino Style, Tribal Government Gaming and Progressive Products Preview (P3) as well as its online assets including GGB News.
It will extend the digital publishing business’ global reach as the North American market enters a crucial phase, providing clients with access to a significantly bigger audience through its range of marketing services products.
Founded in 2002, GGB is trusted title with a reach beyond sports betting and iGaming into commercial and tribal gaming. It bolsters Clarion Gaming Digital’s ability to provide a comprehensive range of news, analysis and data to every sector of the industry.
The acquisition is a cornerstone of a wider multimillion pound investment to enhance Clarion Gaming Digital’s data and audience development.
“This is a major milestone for our digital business as we unlock the benefits of our investment,” the Managing Director for Clarion Gaming, Alex Pratt, said. “We are acquiring a business with deep industry heritage and with it the opportunity to build on its solid foundations in the United States.”
The B2B Global Content Director for Clarion Gaming Digital, Robin Harrison, said the acquisition came amid changes to state regulations as well as new land-based and online developments across the United States and Canada.
“We are delighted to seal this deal, which brings in new industry expertise to the team, expands our reach and consolidates our presence in a crucial region,” Harrison said. “We will build an offering that acts as the final word on key industry developments and GGB’s authority and relationships takes us a step closer to that goal.”
“We have had lengthy discussions with Clarion Gaming Digital in recent years and believe it shares our passion and vision for serving our readership in a way that will maintain the quality of the publications for decades to come,” the publisher and Chief Executive Officer for Casino Connection International LLC, the parent of GGB, Roger Gros, said. “As the gaming industry continues to grow in many different ways, our relationship with Clarion will make certain that our pivotal role in the industry remains unchanged and we can continue our important work going forward.”
Clarion Gaming Digital plans to further accelerate its North American expansion by leveraging unique partnerships on offer through the wider Clarion Events portfolio such as the DigitalPlay Summit at the Indian Gaming Tradeshow and Convention over April 10 to 11.
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