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BEGE | Bulgaria
The increasing international focus
of BEGE acts as a textbook example
of the positive, forthright manner in
which companies within the gaming
and gambling industry assess
market changes in order to capi-
talise on new growth opportunities.
No direct link can yet be drawn
between the growth of manufac-
turers’ interest in the Balkans and
much-lamented Russian ‘situa-
tion’. Yet although the country is
still riddled with economic diffi-
culties, Russian consumers are
becoming increasingly affluent,
and already casinos as far away as
Egypt have expressed their mid-
term interest in locking down the
international support
potential to be found in those
looking to travel abroad to satisfy
their own entertainment needs.
This may indeed filter down
for Bulgaria’s
through the entire gaming spec-
trum, as manufacturers seek to
increase their footprint in other,
previously overlooked countries
in the region surrounding the
Ultimately, in hindsight it may
be Prime Minister Putin who will
gaming show
be the one lamenting his govern-
ment’s decision to clip the wings
of an industry that had not even
had the chance to bloom.
owards the end of ries International, Eurocoin opportunities they seek,” she opportunities to be pursued
2008, as it was BEGE returns again in 2009 - this time with and Gaming Partners Interna- said. “Maybe some of the in other high-growth markets
increased focus and an impressive growth in
tional serving to bolster the strong players will chose in the region. And, for this
increasingly clear
the number of foreign exhibitors. James
calibre of the event. other more attractive gaming reason, it is clear that the
that the Russian The range of delegates, too, destinations like Monte Carlo, event looks set to enjoy con-
State Duma would not
Walker reports.
has fanned out, particularly Macau, Las Vegas, France, tinued success over the
rescind its decision to banish across those based in the Cyprus. Maybe some will coming years.
gaming to the far reaches of immediate vicinity. “This year decide to come to Bulgaria for “Bulgaria and other coun-
the federation, both opera- doors in Sofia last year, joined the European Union.” we have seen even more vacation and entertainment. tries in the region have all the
tors and manufacturers with running parallel to the Returning once more in interest from operators not Maybe some will play illegally needed premises, including
interests in the region were already established Eastern 2009, the BEGE organising only from Bulgaria, but also in Russia.” geographical position and
understandably vocal with European Gaming Summit. team have hit the ground from Serbia, Romania, Croatia, Although the sweeping good regulation, to become a
their concerns that one of the The response was positive. running, and this year’s event and Greece,” Tsankarska said. Russian gaming restrictions centre of the gaming indus-
industry’s most promising Delegates applauded the has been complemented “Bulgaria is an attractive have recently been one of the try,” Tsankarska concludes.
markets would soon be a event’s stripped-down logic, with a range of new ideas and gaming destination due to its industry’s most talked about “BEGE will continue to give
shadow of its former self. as it acted as an ideal platform innovations, ranging from del- geographic proximity to topics, BEGE, in its short term the gaming world a clear and
Yet while many companies for the numerous companies egate prize draws and countries including Turkey, as eastern Europe’s incum- unrivalled insight in new
continue to lament Prime who had over recent years increased networking oppor- Greece, Romania and Israel.” bent gaming show, has developments and opportu-
MinisterVladimir Putin’s deci- helped put Bulgaria on the tunities, to a revamped analy- Those within the industry quickly grown to demon- nities in the eastern European
sion, others have been quick gaming industry map. This, of sis service and what has been will not be surprised to hear strate that there are plenty of gaming markets.”
to identify new opportunities course, in addition to the big labelled an ‘Executive Master that a general growth across
in eastern Europe. Recent hitters - Aristocrat, MEI and Class’. the eastern European gaming
research has pointed towards WMS, to name but a few - who Although the number of market has been forecast BEGE Expo Exhibitors
future growth in many coun- were already established exhibitors has declined recently by observers on both
tries across the area, with the there. slightly year-on-year - due in sides of the Atlantic. Yet
Balkan and Baltic states being BEGE spokesperson no small part to the wider eco- Tsankarska also drew atten-
increasingly listed as the next Milena Tsankarska explains: nomic slowdown - the tion to the much-reported
soft-gaming hotspots. It is no “Over rent years both number of exhibitors that are gambling restrictions in
surprise, therefore, that the gaming manufacturers and setting up camp at BEGE has Russia and Ukraine, raising
Balkan Entertainment and gaming operators have this year swung from predom- the question: where will
Gaming Expo was created in shown increased interest in inantly Bulgarian to predomi- players from these countries
an effort to encourage dia- the region’s potential, and nantly foreign (see chart). search for an alternative? 2008 2009
logue between operators and this is partly the result of The UK and US, in particu- “Whether or not Russians
manufacturers keen to forge increased investor confi- lar, have shown a great deal of will come to Bulgaria will be a
partnerships in the region. dence after a number of support, with key names question of whether or not
The percentage of foreign exhibitors now dwarfs those from
BEGE first opened its countries in the region including Gaming Laborato- we can provide gaming
GamesWorld | 36 | October 2009
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