Novomatic company is one of the greatest companies on the Romanian and international gambling market. Valentin-Adrian Georgescu, President of Novomatic Romania, told us in an exclusive interview to our publication, Casino Life & Business Magazine’ what it takes to have a prosperous company in the gambling industry and how he sees this branch in our country.
How would you rate Novomatic in Romania, a successful or less successful business?
I see it as a successful business, considering of how long has this company been on the market in Romania. Novomatic Group entered this market in 1990 and managed to develop and maintain its leader position up to the present day.
What are the main obstacles in the Romanian gambling industry?
The main issue that the slots industry is facing is the impossibility of implementing the fiscal stipulations in regards to the 25% tax out of the winnings, as well as the entrance ticket to the gaming rooms. Thus, it is impossible to quantify whether a player exceeds the taxable threshold of 600 lei from only one organizer, during one day. Why? Because a player can play on more devices or visit more rooms and, therefore, the monitoring of each player for taxing purposes is out of question. The authorities themselves admit the above fact.
Going back to the entrance ticket, here are our problems:
– The player stubbornly refuses to purchase it (discussions, aggressivity);
– The impossibility of tracking the people entering the gaming rooms, mainly for the open bars, restaurants, halls, etc. There are people walking in there with no explicit desire to play.
– Implementation of certain irregular sanctions, up to license suspension, when players are found without an entrance ticket.
Our suggestion is to act towards arising the player’s awareness and the organizer has the duty to make these tickets available to them, according to the law. For example, we should look at the public transportation, where the trip is paid in advance and the bus rider is fined for not having a ticket.
There is also the issue of the underground equipment, unauthorized gaming rooms and the aggressive advertising in mass-media about the illegal gambling.
Similar with other states in the world, Romania has been through and still feeling the financial downturn. So are all the companies. What are the efforts that you made to keep above the water on the market and still maintain the quality standards and meet the objective, which is full satisfaction for the clients who are in the same boat?
The economic turmoil in the last years has impaired us, as it has with many other companies. What we have tried to do was to permanently adjust and maintain providing the services our clients are already used to. We have lowered the costs after renegotiating the rents of our spaces and decreased the number of our playing devices, reorganized the activity in each club. In other words, we thought of saving as much as we could wherever possible.
Novomatic, the company you represent, is the largest consortium of integrated gambling in Europe, with over 20 years on the Romanian market. What is the secret behind the longevity of your success in this branch where competition is so fierce?
To be a successful company and maintain its leader position, Novomatic group has to assure the constant adjustment to the market requirements and to the permanent changes in the type of services, provided products and also in the cooperation channels. The advantage of the producer who has been building a special relation with our clients since the 90’s via the wide range of services, private exploitation, equipment renting and sale and attractiveness of the games. Today, Novomatic cooperates with its clients in Romania through the rental-sale services and contracts and partnerships with bars.
How many gambling rooms are active under the Novomatic brand in Romania and how much equipment are you operating?
As we speak, both S.C. Intertop S.R.L. and S.C. T.I.M.A.X. S.R.L. operate in over 70 gambling rooms and 20 bars, in Bucharest and around the country. As for the equipment, the number of 1,700 under ADMIRAL name in its owned rooms. Besides these, Novomatic Romania uses over 1,000 rented devices within S.C. Novo Invest Co S.R.L.
For those who are not aware of details, please give us a few about Novomatic group of companies, number one among the gambling equipment manufacturers on the European market.
The Novomatic group of companies was established in 1980. Now, this is one of the largest groups in the international gambling industry and it has branch companies in 22 countries worldwide, exports high-tech games in over 80 countries and operates more than 145,000 gambling devices in over 900 casinos and gambling rooms. We provide more than 19,000 jobs in all four corners of the world. Novomatic group belongs in the top five gambling companies and places first in Europe, with a total turnover exceeding EUR3.2 billions in 2012.
For the future, Novomatic plans to consolidate its leader position in the industry of gambling equipment in Europe and turn into the largest consortium in the world for this field/
What is the amount for the invesments made by Novomatic in Romania?
Since we joined the Romanian market in 1990 until present, Novomatic Group has invested over 65 million euros. During 2008-2009, we invested 25 millions for building the new headquarters and for expanding the network of the gambling rooms. For the time to come, all three representatives of Novomatic Group aim to strenghten their leader position, both in exploitation and renting-sale of the electronic equipment.
What are your future plans for our country?
Our target for here is to maintain our number one position in manufacturing gambling equipment in Europe and become the largest consortium on the old continent. For Romania, Novomatic plans include more invesment in the steady improvement of the services and products, to prove once again that Admiral brand is the equivalent of quality and elegance, in expanding the network of clubs by opening some where we are visible, as well as an active involvement in projects of social awareness.
You started your activity in gambling in 1990. What made you drawn towards this field and why?
First of all, there was a need to work with a reliable company, in a professional and competent environment. Later on, there came the mirage and fascination for this area, while trying to gradually discover the secrets of the gambling industry and use them positively in the company that I have been represetnting since Novomatic group entered the Romanian market.
What would you see imperative to be done by the authorities here, in terms of legislation, to have the things go better and better in gambling and related areas?
A first important step has been taken – the establishment of ONJN – The National Gambling Office, which brings together specialists who exchange ideas with the similar associations, via the Advisory Council. Thus, it has been created the instrument to help our suggestions and problems in this industry reach the competent authorities, which will take the necessary decisions to constantly improve the gambling activity in Romania. We hope that this openness towards dialogue and cooperation be visible in legal changes to make better the current fiscal context in the slots industry, so that it will be applicable and fair for all the gambling operators. We need predictability, and this would be the result of a stable and clear fiscal legislation.
What are the strenghts of the Novomatic business in our country?
Our original, high quality products help us be a step ahead of the other competitors. The passion for this industry, the technological innovations that we bring herein all the time, the special attention we pay to the client by the ‚Gamble responsibly’ project, all these have taken Novomatic group to a continuous and durable development. Likewise, the double role played by Novomatic Romania – equipment operator and supplier – has provided us the first spot in the gambling industry in your country.
What is the percentage regarding the presence of your equipment on our market, both in sales and renting?
Novomatic equipment holds over 70% on this market, a number that derives from the sale and direct renting of equipment by our companies, as well as from the direct exploitation. Even the illegally owned and exploited equiment includes Novomatic games.
Novomatic is also involved in ‚Gamble responsibly’. Tell us about this singular approach in the gambling industry in Romania.
Novomatic initiated the ‚Gamble responsibly’project in November 2010, during the Entertainment Arena Expo gaming exhibition. At the beginning of 2012, Romslot – The Association of the Slots Organizers – took over and extended for all the association members. Recently, a partnership between ROMSLOT and the Romanian Bookmakers have been set up. Right now, the project is known under the name of ‚Responsible gaming.’
To support the ‚Responsible gaming’, a website has been created, www.jocresponsabil.ro. On that page, the players can test themselves via an online questionnaire, which helps assessing the risk level in gambling issues emergence. The helpline, TEL-VERDE type, built within this project, represents the channel where a player with gambling problems is given the opportunity to be on the phone with a specialist. If needed, he can have two free appointments of evaluation and physchotherapy. Similarly, all the locations owned by ROMSLOT members and Romanian Bookmakers have posted the ‚Responsible gaming’ banners, including the website address and the Helpline telephone number.
What novelties will bring Novomatic to the Entertainment Arena Expo event and what are the expectations for this year?
The same we did in the previous years, Novo Invest Co, subsidiary of Novomatic group, will showcase the latest of our group. DOMINATOR®, the newest Novomatic cabinet, will be displayed for the first time in Romania, during the exhibition. This piece of equipment combines, in an original way, the easiness in using with a superior design and a nice overall aspect. The result: absolute performance. I am positive that this equipment will become a market leader. We will be waiting for you with more, at booth stand number 117 at Romexpo exhibition center.
What is the main ingredient that a manager should have so as to be a successful businessman?
First, he should be a honest and fair person, to know how to listen and be respectful of his colleagues and partners. It will follow the positive thinking and the complex vision upon the business. The above should be incorporated to have a successful manager.
Your work schedule has gone over the board. How do you balance is with family time?
There has to be a balance between the two. They are both important, but I am trying to keep them even. A successful manager needs to keep his family happy at home.
How does a regular day look like in the life of Adrian Georgescu?
Just like any other normal person’s, who wakes up in the morning, exercises to get his batteries ready to work for a day full of challenges.
What is your career wish?
As a good manager, I want to develop the activity of the company I am representing, to increase its profit, to maintain and improve the group image. Also, to become a national leader, similar with Novomatic group at the international level.
And for your private life?
Health for me and my family, a quiet and happy life for all of us.
You are already familiar with our publication, ‚Casino Life & Business Magazine’ and the projects we are involved. What do you think is the mark we are leaving in the gambling industry? How much are we helping the people in this branch?
Your publication ‚Casino Life & Business Magazine’ has always been close to us, walked the extra mile in its involvement in the issues of the gambling organizers and similar associations. And it has been our voice so many times, and the bridge between us and the authorities.
A piece of advice for gambling beginners.
Before they start such business, I advise them to ask a specialist for valuable tips, so as they will not take any risks and comply with the law and, therefore, the image of this activity field cannot be harmed. The exploitation of the original equipment represents a factor any organizer, whether a novice or not, should take into consideration.
Do you have a heartfelt message for our readers?
I wish them to be healthy and enjoy every minute of their life.