“We are building a reputation in Europe”
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Juan Francisco Piña and Jason Fitzhugh at Gemaco booth, during ICE 2012.
What has the firm presented at ICE?
Well, this is the show in which we are carrying on the message that we brought to the industry at G2E in Las Vegas, which is our new gaming chip line, which we are continuing to promote and develop. We find more and more interest in the chip line and, with the economy improving in North America, we find that many casinos are looking at the chips for either operation replacement or, with the many new jurisdiction openings -soon Massachusetts, New York, Florida- we expect to sell not only our chips but our core business playing cards.
What are the most important markets for the company in Europe?
One of the things we’ve been promoting at this show in ICE is the appointment of Mr Juan Francisco Piña. Gemaco is proud that we have a new distributor relationship for Spain. And you know, there is very limited competition for playing cards in Spain and we are excited to take advantage of the knowledge of Mr Piña.
And what about the other European markets?
We do good business here in the UK, we do business for London clubs, and we are also talking with UK major operator Rank. We also had a lot of interest from the Eastern European operators, so we are always trying to build our brand and our image in Europe and this is the third year in a row we’ve done the show. We are building a reputation.
What is your opinion about the European crisis?
As far as my product is concerned, Europe uses primarily plastic playing cards, and we make a very high-quality one. We are finding a very open market, a very receptive market to our plastic cards. And our gaming chips also, although there is a lot of competition here in the continent for playing cards, layouts and chips, we find that being a dollar-based product, being a US company, gives a significant currency advantage to working with us.
The card market is very particular, with a lot of competition. Why do customers choose your products?
Well, obviously two big advantages are the facts that we have very low minimums, lower than the competition, so they can buy literally half the minimum purchase with Gemaco than what they would with the competition. And, again, being a dollar-based purchase, brings them a 30-40% advantage. Third, we have a great reputation in the US and people trust us. So, between those three things, we are finding good interest in our product.
Which is the market share you have in the US?
Obviously, US Playing Card is the leader in the North America market, and we are very strong number two playing card provider. We believe we are one of the two largest layout manufacturers in the world, we have manufacturing facilities in both Macau and the US. We have over 250 active customers around the world and do business in all continents.
In which other shows are you planning to participate this year?
In 2012 we are starting with ICE show, and in Spring we are going to South America, to Colombia, and then to G2E in Las Vegas.