Novomatic buys Gamestec, RLMS and Bell-Fruit


As predicted by Coin-op Community, Novomatic has purchased the UK’s largest operator Gamestec, plus Bell-Fruit Games, RLMS and Mazooma.

The OFT will investigate the deal, which is expected to be cleared in around 6-8 weeks. The transaction is not believed to include Leisure Connections or On Board Leisure.

This bold move by Novomatic is likely to create a seismic shift in the UK coin-op market, particularly for those with an interest in reel-based AWPs. Following the recent announcement that Barcrest is forsaking the reel-based sector, Bell-Fruit is the last remaining major manufacturer and the supplier of the market-leading Deal Or No Deal family of AWPs.

“It will be very interesting to see what happens next,” says an industry source. “Either Bell-Fruit will supply Gamestec alone, or they will continue to supply the whole industry. However, it is clear that Gamestec will ultimately have a preferential purchasing position for their products. Where will this leave the independent operators?”


It is also interesting to consider the position of Sceptre Leisure which has followed a very ambitious expansion plan in recent years and which is supplied by Novomatic’s arch-rival Gauselmann for digital product. Would a lack of reel-based AWP from the UK force Sceptre to look at importing reel-based machines from the German giant?

An alternative view is that Novomatic could simply stop the supply of reel-based product altogether and take a similar stance to Barcrest’s new owner Scientific Games and push digital product into the UK. However, given the level of existing demand this seems an unlikely decision in the short-term.

One thing is for certain, the other operators in the UK market are going to have to look for new suppliers for reel-based product in order to remain competitive. If smaller manufacturers are to be tempted to compete in the Cat C arena with reel products it seems likely that the current exhaustive and expensive system of machine testing needs to be overhauled so that innovation can be encouraged.

“This could be great news for the industry if those not involved in this deal position themselves in anticipation of the changes that are likely to happen. Those who just wait to see are likely to lose out,” concluded our source.


Comments (3)

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I notice that Astra Games or Empire Games were not mentioned in the article.
As we both produce successful reel base products and will continue to do so, with no plans to stop anytime soon.

R Troi
Astra Games
16/02/2012, 08:48

Thanks for your comment the only reason why Astra and Empire were not mentioned in this instance is that they are already part of the Novomatic group and I was highlighting how few manufacturers are left that are not owned by larger organisations. We would welcome more input from Astra on the site and if you would like to promote some of your more successful reel-based products to the UK market you know where to come! Please note Astra’s inclusion in our post-EAG report.
All the best – Steph

16/02/2012, 10:15

Thats good news for us then…as 80 of our awps are either dond or barcrest

eddie wright
sceptre leisure
15/03/2012, 09:19

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