Cornel Hodorogea

About the new normality with Cornel Hodorogea, General Manager of EXCELBET and Vicepresident of the Romanian Bookmakers association

Certainly any company must take into account changes in the gaming behavior of its customers.

➤ What did the quarantine period mean for the company you run? What about the Romanian Bookmakers association?
For EXCELBET, the suspension period was a good time to complete ongoing projects and improve the image and organization of existing locations.
For the Romanian Bookmakers Board, the last period brought many challenges regarding the alignment of the industry to the new social and economic reality. Together with the other associations in the gambling industry, we managed the performance of being one of the economic fields, the best prepared, to resume its activity following the state of emergency. Even before the appearance of the measures imposed by the government, the industry voluntarily assumed a plan with sanitary protection measures that was approved by the National Institute of Public Health. I would like to note on this occasion the unity of response and action on the part of operators in the various fields of the gambling industry, aimed at the safe resumption of business.

➤ What health security solutions have you adopted? How do players react to the health security measures you have in place? What about the staff?
Betting operators have fully aligned themselves with the measures imposed by the authorities of the retail sector, among which I would list the obligation to wear a protective mask, social distancing and limiting the maximum number of customers in locations. Bettors easily accepted the “new reality” which gives me confidence that the sports betting industry has managed to achieve a very good level of compliance with health measures which ensures a safe environment for both bettors and our colleagues in the agencies.
Betting operators have been the main driver and have the greatest merit in the successful implementation of health protection measures, due to the close relationship they usually have with loyal customers of betting agencies. On this occasion, I would like to congratulate them and thank them for their efforts!

➤ Have you adapted the company’s commercial policy to the new normal?
Certainly any company must take into account changes in the gaming behavior of its customers. We have thus adapted the betting offers to meet the need of players to spend less time in locations, which has led to an increase in the importance of pre-match and number bets and a contraction of live and virtual ones. We are betting on a return to normalcy in the medium term, which will be reflected in the promotional campaigns that we will launch in the near future.

About the new normality with Cornel Hodorogea, General Manager of EXCELBET and Vicepresident of the Romanian Bookmakers association

➤ What do you think sports betting operators should do to get through this crisis?
Operators must first adapt to the new realities of world sport and significantly reduce the number of sporting events that can be included in betting offers by diversifying the offer for available events and identifying new bidding channels. Perhaps the best example in terms of diversification is represented by e-sports, a line of events marginally present in the offer of organizers in recent years, which has grown exponentially in recent times, both in terms of number of events offered and in terms of customer affinity and the number of bets placed.

➤ How should authorities proceed to assist industry operators?
Predictability, decision-making transparency and consultation with industry experts should be the main objectives of the authorities in the next period. With regard to traditional fixed odds betting, the legislative measures adopted following the suspension period have been balanced and responded to the needs of operators.
Given the need for social distancing and health protection measures, I believe that a legislative framework should be created to allow a mode of operation of the activity, with minimal intervention and interaction from the employee in relation to customers. The digitization of betting operations with the abandonment of the use of paper media as well as the transition to electronic payments are steps that must be taken as soon as possible by traditional betting organizers.

➤ Do you expect mergers and acquisitions in the industry in the next period?
Changes will certainly take place in the market in the next period, as operators reposition their businesses to respond to the phenomenon of shrinking revenues generated by the health crisis we are in. Those who think in the long run, who have the ability to optimize their activity, to reinvent themselves, will benefit.

About the new normality with Cornel Hodorogea, General Manager of EXCELBET and Vicepresident of the Romanian Bookmakers association