martin Burlin

‘Must attend’ EAG 2024 ready to celebrate with sights set on future

EAG Chairman, Martin Burlin, highlights the unique credentials of a show which was built on its relationship with trade association bacta and which continues to deliver a combination of outstanding product and inspiring content.

The EAG marketing activity references the phrase ‘for the industry and by the industry’ – what is the significance of this and how does it impact the show?

I firmly believe that the phrase was born out of the relationship that EAG has and before that ATEI had with bacta.

Bacta’s ownership of EAG means that every policy decision and every show initiative has been and will continue to be taken exclusively in the best interests of bacta members and of the industry as a whole.

For example, donating space to nine not for profit organisations on the Bacta Safer Gambling Hub is not a revenue-building opportunity but one which demonstrates the central importance of social responsibility to the industry and a commitment to reinforce and drive best practice.

Having our industry trade body in charge of the strategic development of the show means that EAG will always work to meet the needs of the business – it’s the reason it exists.

In 2024 bacta celebrates half a century representing the industry – how will EAG be marking this?

As World’s Fair readers will no doubt testify, the industry needs no excuse to throw a party. In January an international audience of VIPs and dignitaries from trade associations representing the amusements industry in countries including Austria, Croatia, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Montenegro, Netherlands, Romania, Serbia, Spain, the United States as well as sister bodies from the UK will be gathering at EAG to join celebrations marking bacta’s 50th year.

EAG will serve as the launch-pad for what will be a year-long programme of 50th anniversary events. EAG’s strap line for 2024 is ‘The Year Starts Here’ and I am delighted that bacta’s 50th celebrations will also start at EAG and take place in front of so many industry exhibitors and visitors.

You’ve announced strategic partnerships with a number of trade associations including The Showmen’s Guild of Great Britain, The Bingo Association, EUROMAT and BALPPA – what’s the thinking behind this highly collaborative approach?

EAG visitors are drawn from a range of different sectors including outdoor attractions, family entertainment centres, adult gaming centres, seaside piers, bars, clubs, bingo halls and bowling centres. The show is an extremely broad church of businesses and entrepreneurs many of whom are members of a number of different trade bodies.

EAG reflects those interests and as a consequence serves as a meeting place for all sectors of the business. Collaborating with the industry is at the heart of the EAG philosophy and keeps the show dynamic and relevant.

photo of EAG show

What importance do you place on the EAG Seminar Programme – is it a footnote or a main attraction?

Clearly the main attraction for EAG visitors, and the reason why operators come to the show is the opportunity it provides to see the very latest innovations and game-changing product launches from the very best manufacturers in the business.

Whilst there’s no disputing that fact, a growing number of visitors also want to keep up to date on the latest developments and thinking on key issues whether that’s in relation to safer gambling, regulatory changes, compliance, the pub sector or the high street.

We recognise that visitors might want more of a taster session and to use EAG in order to make the contacts they need in order to learn in greater detail and in their own time. They are not at EAG to write a thesis or sit an exam but they do want to keep up to speed on important issues impacting their business which is why the seminars are concise, delivered by experts and targeted to meet specific needs. It’s certainly an important part of the EAG offering.

We recently did an interview with John Bollom whose family has owned and run the iconic Mumbles Pier in Swansea south Wales since 1937.

He made the link between the two saying that the income generated by the arcade on Mumbles Pier helped fund its significant running costs adding that privately owned piers without amusement arcades are simply not sustainable. The Mumbles Arcade has over 100 machines including video, sports-themed games and 2p pushers – all of which were sourced at EAG.

John confirmed that attractions operators look to EAG to source the latest games and innovations which generate the income that’s needed to continue to trade, to continue to attract tourists, which in turn creates and sustains jobs for local people. It’s a powerful proposition and one which reflects how interdependent our industry is.

With EAG 2024 taking place a matter of weeks away what makes the show a ‘must attend’?

The terms ‘must attend’ and ‘unique’ are probably some of the most over-used in our industry. However, when it comes to EAG I believe they are totally relevant and I will explain why.

Not only does the show provide operators with access to the very latest game-changing amusements equipment which will set their businesses up for the best possible start to the year, but the 4,000+ operators expected to attend in January will have so much more to gain.

This includes sharing insights and meeting up with industry colleagues, keeping up with developments impacting social responsibility courtesy of the Bacta Safer Gambling Hub, celebrating industry excellence at the Bacta Annual Awards and of course participating in EAG’s topical seminar programme which is packed with easily digestable business relevant content. EAG is an outstanding once a year opportunity created by the industry for the industry and one which cannot be missed.

For more information and to register for the free to attend EAG Expo taking place across 16th – 18th January 2024 at ExCeL London: https://www.eagexpo.com

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