– ROMBET analysis –
Business experience teaches us that it is not necessarily a victory to bring a business on the heights, but to keep it there. The gambling industry, seen from this perspective, has also reached a culmination – a certain maturity threshold that makes it more stable, gives it predictability and solid premises for development.
Romania has shown to foreign partners in Europe, the USA, Asia, Latin America that it is a full consolidating and growing market, attracting many gambling companies and corporations to do business in our country. “The role of ROMBET and that of the Romanian profile associations is believed to change dramatically starting with 2018. We need to take very seriously the role of business ambassadors and, as we have put efforts to the creation of a transparent local business environment and the adoption of a solid and sustainable legislative package, we need to dedicate a great deal of energy and resources to communicating this reality. A reality that is totally different from a few years ago when there was still an opinion that the gambling industry is lacking in transparency or specific laws, harmonized with European law.
I now call upon our industry colleagues, our members, the representatives of the other associations to unite in this new effort, much more delicate but also difficult and more lasting: to move from micro to macro, to be the main actors in the regional and continental markets, to attract business and consolidate everything we have built up to date. Moreover, 2018 will mark the beginning of the expansion of domestic gambling companies in Europe – even a major member of Rombet – Superbet, the largest betting operator – is expanding its business in Europe. Others will follow”, said Mr. Dan Ghită, President of ROMBET.
It is already well known that 2018 is the year in which Bucharest will grow as a representative of international gaming events, because the symbolic event for Romania, EArena Expo aims to double its size. It will also be a year of “fine tuning” regarding the authority’s perspective on the field. Primary and secondary legislation, through GEO 77/2009 and GD 111/2016, paved the way for a stable and well-regulated industry.
The ONJN now has the role of regulating some key areas that have not yet been well addressed. The responsible gambling will catch up – in 2018 the Responsible Gambling Foundation will be operational, and will have tangible projects funded by the Responsible Gambling Fund, where each operator is legally required to contribute. There will be an ONJN President’s order for a more unified approach to advertising, because there are big debates and distinct approaches to operators, and especially differences between the specifics of online and land-based operators.
2018 will be a year in which the indirect pressure of technological progress and artificial intelligence will also be manifested in gambling.
We are not talking about new types of business, but about major changes in the way business is structured and organized.
2018 may be the year of small and medium-sized companies, prone to change or even forced to generate it, to look for new directions of development and profit.
There are discussions, globally, about the role of artificial intelligence in interacting with users. For an industry whose online branch will produce $ 52 billion in 2018, the stakes are huge: front office investments (virtual personal assistants, experiential software that “learns” from user behavior and adapts the interface, etc.) and in back office alike (cost reduction, smart management and others). Where are these … SF movies with Romania? Disruptive changes occur especially in young industries or markets, in developing economies and, as is often said about a “revolution” in finance through the adoption of technologies produced by various IT companies, so can we discuss a wave of change in any business, but especially in the gaming industry, where client-service interaction and ability to adapt offer are critical. Already, many ROMBET members have told us that they will be pursuing their online business as well, by making more and more thorough research into the feasibility of online platform investments.
ROMBET is the only gaming association in Central and Eastern Europe that understands that industry needs to be approached integrated, not to support a particular segment, but the whole field itself.
Our members include slot machine organizers, betting organizers, online gambling organizers, gambling software providers, payment service providers, equipment testing organizations. All of them, either companies with local capital or large European companies that have expanded their activity in Romania. We are approaching 60 in number.
“It will surely be a challenging year: exuberance must be replaced by strategic plans.
Every operator, every company, association or supplier- we all have to realize that development will now be more linear, more leap-free, with stronger competition. These are the characteristics of a mature, free market, ready to accommodate both increases and challenges. The way we strategically approach the next years will be decisive for the future of the industry, in the long run.
We talked here about the technology and the impact of artificial intelligence. It might look really … unrealistic, perhaps, to the owner of a 100% landbased business. But there is also the reality change: we are interconnected and the user becomes, whether we want it or not, more and more … digital.
In the online environment, reputations are rising and collapsing, businesses are being built and, as we see across the ocean, history is written. The Romanian market can also function, for the moment, as an extension of the traditional business for many companies abroad. But, as Mr. Ghită said, it is important to give the right signal: we have a consolidated, stable, transparent and regulated market.
In addition, we are prone to change, as the appetite for growth is still extremely pregnant. We have a (very) young generation of businessmen in the industry, and this is another very good sign, because they have built their reputation in an era of change, know what they mean and are ready for it. Moreover, they will also generate it! “, says Mr. Bogdan Coman, ROMBET Executive Director.
2018 will bring about a few changes: new and new industry support companies are emerging, providing software services in particular. If we look at the neighboring countries – Bosnia, Serbia, Macedonia, Bulgaria – we see that this development is also due to the fact that Romania is a hub of resources in the IT field. We believe that this trend will continue and will increase this year, not only on the basis of this resource export, but also as a result of the internal growth highlighted by many of our members.
From an organizational point of view, ROMBET hopes that 2018 will be the year when the associations in the field will work best together and will unite their efforts for more unity in strategies and actions.
The start was already in 2017: partnerships between associations must now be strengthened.