2016 will soon end. It was a year market by many discussions and by some legislative changes which had a significant impact on the local gambling industry. We witnessed some steps forward for the industry, like the launch of the “Set of Ethical and Responsible Behavior Principles”, but also the arrival of some legislative initiatives and obstacles which companies had to face.
Since this years’ experience can best concluded by those present in this industry, we asked some of the ROMSLOT members to offer us several opinions regarding „what did 2016 mean for the slot machines market and for their business”:

Do you consider that the Romanian legislation for the gambling market is precise in this moment?
Andrei Frimescu, Marketing & PR Director, Game World Romania:
„We consider that, currently, the local legislation which establishes the gambling sector is precise.

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This aspect, associated with the transparency and the quality of communication between operators and the Romanian National Gambling Office represent important positive factors for this industry. In our opinion, a period of stability from the legislative point of view would be necessary, so that operators have the chance to adapt to the present laws in order to consolidate their activity and develop the local market”.
Valentin Adrian Georgescu, CEO of NOVOMATIC Group Romania: „Currently, we consider that some aspects may be subject of interpretation. But, we are confident that the legislative framework will encourage the increase of responsible behavior among local operators and that it will have a positive impact on those operators that respect the law in their daily activities. Also, we consider that it would be useful an even more efficient control of the companies’ activity regarding the unfair commercial competition and counterfeiting practices – these have a negative impact both on the companies which organize gambling activities and on the public’s perception of this industry”.

Regarding the evolution of your business, how was 2016 for your company?
Andrei Frimescu, Marketing & PR Director, Game World Romania:
„Looking back, 2016 had both strong opportunities and threats. Suffice it to mention the major impact of the ban of smoking in enclosed public places. We are confident that in 2017 we will continue to beneficiate of new opportunities and to limit the effect of threats”.
Valentin Adrian Georgescu, CEO of NOVOMATIC Group Romania: „Despite all obstacles, the results registered this year make us confident in our development abilities and in our capacity to maintain the ascending trend for our company”.

What impact did the ban of smoking in enclosed public spaces have on your company?
Andrei Frimescu, Marketing & PR Director, Game World Romania:
„Right after this law was established we registered a lower number of clients and the volume of bets diminished. It is important to mention that this drop was registered for the «Fun Players» and «Time on Device Players» segments, meaning that it was registered right among those clients who are interested in aspects like: entertainment, socializing and having fun during their spare time. More than that, we could clearly observe that the impact of this law was different depending on the type of organizer of gambling activities, as this was an opportunity for the online gambling segment. Currently, after almost 8 months since its establishment, this decreasing tendency slowed down its pace. However, we do not estimate that the number of clients will reach again the value registered before the enforcement of this law”.

Valentin Adrian Georgescu, CEO of NOVOMATIC Group Romania: „The law against smoking in enclosed spaces affect all companies active on the gambling market and others as well. It is true that this determined a decrease in the numbers of players and that the incomes were affected, thus leading to a lower amount of contributions to the state budget.

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The most suitable solution, like it is in other European countries, would be to except gambling activities from the stipulations of this law, in certain conditions, of course”.

How important do you think that social responsibility activities are (for preventing and managing the potential gambling problems)?
Andrei Frimescu, Marketing & PR Director, Game World Romania:
„Game World gives a great importance to aspects related to social responsibility topics and proactively supports the «Responsible Gambling» program. As it is known, Game World has over 17 years of presence on the Romanian market. The company truly believes that social responsibility has to be one of the fundamental values of any company focused on having a sustainable success”.
Valentin Adrian Georgescu, CEO of NOVOMATIC Group Romania: „The «Responsible Gambling» program was initiated in 2010 by NOVOMATIC and, afterwards, this program was taken by ROMSLOT, which further extended it, as it addresses the entire industry. Therefore, it can be seen that the social responsibility aspects related to preventing and managing gambling problems are very important for us. We would be glad to see that other operators deal with this topics with the same curiosity, in order to maintain a correct perception on gambling activities – this type of games and sports betting have to be seen as ways of entertainment and of having fun”.

Did you feel a change among players with gambling problems (did their number increase/ diminished)?
Andrei Frimescu, Marketing & PR Director, Game World Romania:
„The studies conducted this year offered the first quantitative and qualitative data regarding players that might have problems related to their gambling activities. One of the main conclusions of these studies was that, in Romania, this aspect respects the European average levels. Future researches will be able to identify the next tendencies regarding this social phenomenon”.
Valentin Adrian Georgescu, CEO of NOVOMATIC Group Romania: „Training the personnel from our locations and from the sports betting locations is a priority for us because the members of our staff are the ones who come in direct contact with players and have to promote the concept of responsible gambling among these clients. In this way, the final users can make an informed choice, since they know the rules, the risks and the options they have. Due to our constant efforts, which include the fact that we do not promote ourselves in an aggressive manner, we try to protect not only those persons with gambling problems, but also the under aged persons. As a result, we observed that the number of players with such problems diminished among our clients”.

When you think about this year, what advice, coming from your experience, would you like to offer to colleagues from the local industry?
Andrei Frimescu, Marketing & PR Director, Game World Romania:
„Based on the experience accumulated in 17 years of activity and on the latest market evolutions, our advice would be: continue to have a business activity based on principles like: fairness, transparency and responsibility”.
Valentin Adrian Georgescu, CEO of NOVOMATIC Group Romania: „Looking back in time, at NOVOMATIC’s years of activity, we realized that the gambling industry combines art, technology and innovation in order to offer enthusiasm, entertainment and satisfaction to people. We also observed that is important to approach and present these elements to the public, in a detailed and accurate manner, in order to avoid misinterpretation. We are willing to work to change Romanians’ perception regarding the gambling activities and to help it become a modern vision which will underline that these activities meet the need for socialization. Moreover, we would like to underline that gambling activities engage in their spare time the technology, adrenaline and emotion of entertainment. The path chosen by us was filled with political and economic challenges and dynamic changes, but we consider that the key element is «showing respect for people and their needs» both from consumers’ part and from the part of companies’ management. Today, we can gladly say that we are happy to be part of this interesting industry which continues to develop”.

How do you see 2017?
Andrei Frimescu, Marketing & PR Director, Game World Romania:
„We estimate that the market will continue to develop in 2017 and that the dynamics of the various types of gambling activities will be different. It is possible that the online gambling to continue grow faster than other segments, which, will probably register a tendency of consolidation on the market”.
Valentin Adrian Georgescu, CEO of NOVOMATIC Group Romania: „As an effect of the tech boom registered in the past decade, we consider that the evolution of the market in 2017 will be influenced by the complexity of the products and services offered by the companies, when talking of both B2B and of B2C segments. Regarding this aspect, NOVOMATIC has always allocated the needed resources and the active engagement of a dedicated team, having as proof the company’s renown both at local and at international level.”

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