Story dated 13th January 2001.
Pinball in the Netherlands looks set for a boost following changes to the country's gaming laws. The new rules and their effects are explained by Dutch Pinball News reader Gert-Jan from Leeuwarden.
1986, the Dutch government revised its old gaming laws. Every machine
that could accept a coin
machines were machines that gave the same product every time when
coins were dropped
Vendors machines are licence-free and may be placed and operated anywhere without quantity restrictions.
Skill games are coin-operated machines that provide a game to play. The result of this game is shown by some score meter and the duration of the game depends on the players skill. A player may even win a free game. It's not allowed to pay any prize for the game result other than longer playing time.
Skill games need a model licence (Green sticker) and for every game that is operated, a location licence is required.
Gaming machines are what is known in England as AWP(Amusement With Prizes). In Holland they need a model licence and a location licence. Gaming law rules that the machine must pay out any prize in any game stage if player wishes so.
The law also ruled that Skill games and Gaming games (games that need the model licence) are only allowed in horeca places. Horeca is short for HOtel, REstaurant and Cafe.
place that sells food or drinks is restricted under this Horeca Law
and needs a licence to operate this business. So, coin-machines (not
vendors) are only seen in bars, cafe's, restaurants, diners, snackbars
and the famous Dutch "Coffee-shops".
Local authorities may rule about how many machines of which type may be operated in each kind Horeca, with a maximum of 2 machines.
So, to summarise:
Thus this differed from city to city. In most town however, the rule
Since July 2000, a new gaming law was introduced and some things changed.
Cities may no longer set their own standards like before.
law ruled that:
This means a huge change for many operators. In Holland, there is
Under past law, in these dry horeca you could find at least one AWP.
So, what must operators operate in these dry horeca? To many, the answer is Photoplay.
Many operators have placed 2 Photoplays in the horeca, but...
What we see after operating Photoplay for almost 5 years is that the
hype is over. The profits from most of our Photoplays are declining.
The yearly "updates" can't break this path. Also the Masters
series makes the profits rise for a short time.
I, as a Pinball lover for many years, have promoted pinball in our
company policy. The result was placing 2 pinballs in these so called
This proved for me, that as so many things, Pinball has its own conjuncture. I remembered the articles in the early '80s saying that Pinball was dead due to the Pac-Mans and Space Invaders.
I foresee that more operators will find out that Pinball is not as
dead as they believe. Since they have to operate something in the
dry horeca , and 2 photoplay's is not an option, I think more and
more will settle for 1 Photoplay and 1 Pinball.
This is how we see it:
Suppose you have 50 dry horeca locations and you operate 100 photoplays.
What do you do when players are no longer satisfied by the game anymore.
In other words, when it's over, there nothing you can do to attract players again.
suppose you have 100 (different) pinballs and players on one location
are no longer satisfied?
As you can understand, our policy is going back to Pinball and our
experience in the last months are showing we are on the right track.
I think it won't take long for other operators to follow.
Now, there's still one problem.
The reason for this is the high price due to the high Dollar.
We compare this to Photoplay, who have the same price as Pinballs.
If there comes no other machine that creates the same hype as Photoplay, I'm sure Pinball will revive in Holland and if Photoplay keeps going down, other European countries will follow.
© Pinball News 2002