The new Romslot representatives were elected during the General Meeting of the Stakeholders on April 28
Gabriela Manu is the new ROMSLOT President, one of the most representative voices in the Romanian gambling industry
The new management team at ROMSLOT includes, besides Gabriela Manu, Valentina Dobre as the Vice-president and Gherghina Ionescu, Secretary of the Association.
Gabriela Manu can boast herself with an expertise of over 20 years in this sector, as she had been the Managing Partner within the Baum company. The new Vice-president, Valentina Dobre, also holds the position of Operational Manager Merkur Casino Romania and she started her career almost ten years ago. The seat of Secretary has been appointed to Gherghina Ionescu, Financial Manager and MaxBet Administrator, with an experience of over 14 years in the gambling industry.
In an exclusive interview for Casino Life & Business Magazine, the members of the new ROMSLOT management team answered to our questions regarding the future plans of the association.
GABRIELA MANU – President of ROMSLOT – The Slots Organizers’ Association
What does this new position with Romslot mean for you?
Gabriela Manu: To be the President of ROMSLOT is both an honor and a responsibility. I am thrilled about this appointment, which is a new start for me but also a position that involves great responsibilities. I am the head of an association that represents diverse operators and I want to be the voice of their joint interests. Such a vision requires a strategy that will respond to the needs of Romslot members, an association that grows both as number of members and the range of goals and exigencies, as well as in a well-defined plan of action. This position is accompanied by challenges, as it is now the recently initiated legal project.
What do you think you will bring new to the activity of this association?
Gabriela Manu: I really want to focus on and consolidate the previous work and the projects done by my colleagues. Their objectives coincide with the goals of this position – the existence of an applicable and unbiased legal framework that will help with the regulation of a responsible market, the development of the ‘Responsible gambling; project and the change in the perception of the Romanians about the gambling market. We are a well organized industry, comprising responsible operators that provide entertainment to their clients and we want to be looked at that way. I would also love to erase the word ‘pacanele’ (Romanian derogatory word for slot machines) from the vocabulary of the Romanians.
The fact that the new management formula of the association is 100% female could be an advantage in the relation with the authorities? We remind you that the ONJN President is a woman, too.
Gabriela Manu: It is out of question. In our dialogue with the state authorities, it does not matter whether you are a woman or a man, but it is the power of the message that you want to convey and how this one helps with a better regulation of the industry.
GHERGHINA IONESCU – Secretary of ROMSLOT – The Slots Organizers’ Association
Do you consider that the fact that the new management team of Romslot is 100% female will help improve the way how the public opinion sees the gambling industry in Romania?
Gherghina Ionescu: Changing the perception of the public opinion about gambling is one of our goals. We are aware that this is not a match with the reality and it is the wrong interpretation of this industry that leads to initiating wrong legal measures. If applied, they would have a strong impact upon the society and the state, both socially and economically, thus destroying a responsible market, while missing its target. We are and we want to be perceived as an entertainment industry. But I do not think that an all-women management team will bring this change; instead, a higher transparency of the market, openness to communication and public education are the answers.
What are the short-term projects of the Association?
Gherghina Ionescu: Our list of priorities includes the recently initiated legal project that, even though well intended, will have negative effects for both the society and the state. We will be witnessing to an explosion of the black market, to a large number of layoffs and losing a great amount of money towards the state budget. Hence, we will concentrate our efforts in order to find a solution for developing a responsible industry, with an applicable and fair legal framework, as a result of the dialogue with the authorities.
At the same time, we are getting ready the ROMSLOT proposals for the immediate amendment of GD 870/2009 (the methodological norms to EGD 77/2009) and monitor over 15 proposals of normative acts, which provide the channel of communication with the political decision-makers.
Similarly, for the immediate future, we are looking into fostering the ‘Responsible Gambling’ program, one of ROMSLOT flagship projects. Currently, we provide free counseling at the national level, but we would like to start cooperating with centers throughout the country and extend the project in as many cities as possible, so as to facilitate the access of everyone interested in our services. We also want to increase the number of the operators to run the program, whether they are ROMSLOT members or not. We will thus help with developing a responsible industry.
IRINA SIMINENCO – Executive Director of ROMSLOT – The Slots Organizers’ Association
What are the qualities of the new people in the management team of Romslot?
Irina Siminenco: The new management team includes people with a vast and diversified experience in the gambling market, who had the opportunity to have witnessed the evolution of this Romanian industry and all its major changes. Likewise, we cannot ignore the previous expertise and active participation in all the ROMSLOT projects and initiatives. This new team has the experience from a territory perspective and also from an operator’s or a producer, thus being familiar with all the aspects related to the slot machines market.
What is the novelty that the new management team will bring to the Association?
Irina Siminenco: The appointment of the new team has considered a greater involvement of the members around the country, given the fact that Romslot has notably developed lately, in terms of number of members and its variety. It is important and necessary alike that all member be given the opportunity to take part in the management of the association. This principle was discussed last year within our company. This new management team will make sure to point out at the variety of the operators being represented and will bring changes that will contribute to reaching our objectives and supporting the common interests of the members, either old or new.
VALENTINA DOBRE – Vice-president of ROMSLOT – The Slots Organizers’ Association
What do you think you will bring new to the activity of this association?
Valentina Dobre: Any new management team comes with fresh ideas and energy. It is of course our case here and I am pretty sure that our influence will drive the association towards better things. And apart from the older projects, whose development is a priority for us, I wish that we suggest and implement new ones, which will help us reach the common goals.