A young and successful business man
Dragoș Buriu is the owner of Newton Slots Company and a young and very successful entrepreneur. He is actively involved in the gambling field and he shared us his objective and realistic views about this industry and not only. The following is the interview that Dragoș Buriu gave exclusively to our magazine – “Casino Life & Business Magazine”.
You have a vast experience in gambling, mainly in the slot machines sector. What and when was the first contact with the gambling industry?
My first encounter with gambling was around the age of 10. Before 1989, my father was working for the state-run IAPIT, the only gambling organizer at that time. After the revolution, he worked in the same sector for a while. So, I can say that I spent a part of my childhood among the slots and this passion has not faded away at all in time.
What was the attraction towards this sector?
Before I started in the games, I worked in the alcohol industry, then in the Duty Free….but nothing seemed to fit as this one did. What appeals me is that this is a dynamic business where you cannot afford to lag behind, an exclusivist field, where you are in contact with people as passionate as you are and, last but not least, it is lucrative, since performance is properly rewarded.
You are a regular at the la E-Arena. How do you perceive this fair and what were the benefits of your attendance?
It is a common thing outside the country that the fairs are an environment where people from all corners in the country and who share the same interests can meet in only one location. And E-Arena has become a place where presence is a must, as they make sure you keep track of the latest on the market. Of course that the main purpose is to boost the sales, but my opinion is that this objective places second for both the manufacturer and the clients.
This year, the exhibition was used to promote our association with ISMS and thus guarantee for the quality and originality of our products.
What is your take on the gambling industry in Romania?
For a long time, the gambling world in Romania has been divided among the big players on the market and the local organizers. But lately, the borderline has become finer and thinner and many of the organizers are investing in the latest generation equipment. It is more than obvious that some slota are more lucrative than others and in a money-making sector like this, the more competitive equipment, the better.
How would you describe your company from the position of a gambling supplier?
I think that Newton Slots holds a quite well-defined market position. The organizers are aware that they can derive competitive prices for the original equipment, that they can rely on our seriousness and on the fact that I personally involve in solving any issues that might arise during a transaction. It is a field where the personal involvement counts galore. Also, we have worked hard for the last years that are completing our portfolio with top products. It is our pride to say that we are able to satisfy any needs of an organizer in Romania.
What would you wish to happen on the gambling market in our country?
I believe that the Romanians lack cohesion and this sector is another example. I have been involved with AOJPNR for a few years and it is sad to notice that our efforts to join forces go sometimes unechoed.
As for me, I wish to have some stability, as a balanced environment provides efficiency and can make plans for the future. But this stability comes when we stick together.
How much do we invest here in new equipment, especially now during the financial crisis?
Even though people say that gambling business is thriving during times of crisis, I cannot give you a confirmation for this. I am in a direct contact with many of the organizers and the 2009-2012 window has been a tough one for all of us. As I was saying earlier, the Newton advantage was that some understood that they can be better with the best equipment.
How much different is the Romanian gambling than the one abroad?
The location of the types of equipment places us in the eastern area of Novomatic influence. The Romanian market is filled 70-80% with the products from the Austrian manufacturers.
The desire of the Romanian player for big winnings was like a glove for the volatile algorithm of the Hotspot games. After this one, there came Gaminator 42” and now is Gaminator SuperV+.
Personally, I think that Romania will reach at one point to have a diversified market. And if this ever happens, it will not be in the next 5 years.
What are the products you take pride in for 2013 and which ones were the best received in the last years?
In 2013, we have added to our portfolio with Gaminator SuperV+ at an affordable price. This type of slot machine has been on the market for a while, but the prices have all been too high.
Also, we will launch a roulette game and a new jackpot, online connected, which will have an option for building the loyalty of the clients. The details for this product will be available in the next two months.
Is gambling your passion? What are the others?
Gambling is a field that attracts me, but I would not call it a passion. I am enthusiastic about performance and I love being challenged. I have al ways been a person who also looked at failure and did my best to fuel my desire to succeed.
As for the personal plan, I consider myself a person who is quite active and in search for strong sensations. I do some extreme sports like snowboading, kiteboarding, skydiving and racing.
Are you a player or just a supplier?
I play very rarely and I lose all the time. The moment I walk into a casino, I think of a budget that I never go beyond. I play until it is gone! The moment you go home with money in your pocket, there you have your addiction. We are all tempted by easy money and I would be no exception were I go deeper. Still, as I am involved in this field, I have the professional duty to play once in a while to keep abreast with the latest.
Have you ever played at the slots? Where exactly and, if you can share this information, how much did you win or lose?
I have played a few times in Europe, but always small amounts. The only ‚painful’ experience occured in Las Vegas where I lost $1,000 in an hour. The players in Romania should feel priviledged that they can see a winning on the screen, not only on the board…
What does your family and friends say about your line of work? Do they support you, help you, do you ask them for advice, do you take into account their opinion?
My family has always been on the same side with me and I will thank them as I do it all the time. The people around me considers this field closed and just a few people understand it. The funny thing is when asked about my profession, I say ‚gambling’ – and they take me for a player who is a very lucky one.
You were planning to launch an online casino. Can you tell us anything about it?
Last year, I started a project, new for us and for the Romanian market. We will be launching a portfolio of slots that are different from the existent ones. It will be a kind of innovation that I hope the players will appreciate. In the meantime, we believe that the legal context will become clearer for this activity.
Where do you see your company in the following years?
I think that the best strategy will be to maintain the same direction three years ago. Original products, affordable prices, concern towards our customers. We understand more and more the needs of the operators and we hope to manage to do our job as good as always. Last year was good for us and we hope to have an even better time this year.
What is more important: quality or the price of a product?
I think that both are alike, but the Newton price does not involve a lower quality. We use the same games and plaques for which the initial manufacturer had received €8000 at the purchase time. The same slot is sold in 3-4 years for €2000 only, where its lifetime is 15-20 years.
What are the differences between the company that you are running – Newton Slots – and the rest of the companies in the Romanian gambling sector?
The manufacturers in Romania have somehow diversified their activities and put themselves apart from one another. The competitors and, in some cases, my friends are selling now their own game plaques, jackpot systems and for monitoring, or spare parts. This move is a natural one, as each of them is trying to find his niche.
How is the legislation in Romania vis-a-vis gambling? Do you have any recommendations for a better operation?
I am still reluctant about the legal context of our business. The overtaxation has created piles of slots that are not licensed for operation. The state should come up with a solution to identify the people who are giving a hard time to the legal operators.
The present system is very protective about the underground people and exposes the transparent ones, the ones who are registered with the Department of Finance.
The state has a decisional power regarding the way to organize this field – but the imposition of these decisions to the licensed operators, it has the duty to protect them against abuses and unfair competition.
At the end of the interview, why NEWTON?
For a while, I have been excited about astronomy and I tried to bring a significance to each name I am using. As Newton was one of the huge personalities, I felt tempted to select him when wanted to call a company that we hope to be a FORCE IN GAMING.