Interview with Octavian Manu, General Director of BAUM GAMES

General Director of Baum Group gave an exclusive interview to our publication , Casino Life & Business Magazine’, where he turned to his expertise to speak about what is going on in the Romanian gambling.

– Not long ago, the company BAUM turned 20. How did you start in this business, how did you join the gambling sector?
– Everything began in 1993, the first moment when the vision turned palpable. And back then, that concrete thing meant 15 pieces of gambling equipment and the vision was feeding on perseverance and determination. In the next three years, we reached a number of 100 and one of the landmarks in Baum’s life, the year of 1996. That was the time of legal changes and it twisted our hand to be creative, to reestablish our approach, decided on being lucrative and efficient; hence, we have focused on our activity and lowered the number to circa 30%. Our betting on patience and determination helped us go over the hardships of those years. As a result, we reaped the fruit of our obstination in 1999, when the interest in developing this industry arose. During the following years, we thought of operating as our focal point. In 2002, a natural consequence of our actions came and we started looking at production. Our ten-year experience helped us create Dracula’s Games and then Dracula’s Jackpot. The 20-year long history of Baum has ever since relied on creativity, perseverance and patience. Our small but steady steps took us here and made us a strong and successful Baum brand.

– How did you manage to maintain yourselves on the market and, even more, to become one of the main Romanian equipment manufacturers?
– It is said that vision is the measure of success. In terms of this chapter, patience and determination are the main ingredients, they become the binder between vision and success. For our vision, the win is in a perfect sync with our customers’ and partners’ profit. This is a balance that we understand perfectly and respect a lot. The reward of our work is the satisfaction of our clients and partners, lies in the quality of our products and appreciation that they enjoy. The permanent preocupation for quality, the patience and the wisdom of ‚growing with baby steps’ – this is what Baum team does. This is where communication, creativity and respect are our pillars and the cornerstone for anything signed Baum. All these ingredients are featured in what Baum company means, whether it is about Multigames Dracula’s Games or the systems Dracula’s Jackpot, or the Baum Games locations or our latest project BaumBet, the one that will bring the same Baum spirit into the sport betting market. You will always be greeted by the vision, values and quality of Baum.

– How would you see the BAUM business in Romania?
– A success born in Transylvania. When you have a young and dynamic team close to you, success is not a variable of the effort, it just turns into a mix of reliability and respect, talent, creativity and openess towards new things, patience and perseverance, passion, fascination and passion for quality. The events themselves are landmarks marking our journey to success. In these twenty years, I have learnt that the small steps take us farther than the bouncing; we have refined the quality of our products and services and we can say now that we have happy customers and partners, which for Baum means quality and reliability, a win-win situation.

4. Tell us about the activity of BAUM group, as both a manufacturer and a slot operator and sport betting center.
– BAUM means quality and trustworthiness in both operation and production. What is important for us is to make sure that we always keep our promise above that we have made to our customers, so that we will keep our much-worked-for spot among the major gambling institutions in Romania. We started as operators and our natural course of business took us towards manufacturing. The direct contact with the Romanian players is still our cornerstone of our manufacturing brand. We have used our previous experience in creating games that follow the profile of the players in this country. And I am talking here about Baum ambience. In the Baum rooms, we apply the same rules, we create and build while thinking of our clients, his comfort and desires. This is how we are closing the circle and the players find their favorite games in a special atmosphere, specially planned for their comfort and pleasure.

BaumBet, our project on the sport betting market, belongs to the same vision, a complete range of entertainment services, at the same degree of comfort and quality that they got used to at the Baum Games locations.

– How many gambling rooms operate under BAUM brand in Romania and what is the number of equipment pieces that you are exploiting?
– Currently, Baum Games counts 29 own locations, including premium sites and 100 in a partnership regime at the national level. In terms of equipment, the number of the slot machines is almost 900.

– The products of your company have long crossed the country borders. Where is your best foreign business?
– The Baum Games products have been welcomed and thought successful in several countries in Europe and South America. As a matter of fact, quality stands out, wherever it goes. The evolution of foreign markets is a continuous and long process; it is maybe too soon to measure success from a geographical perspective. But what we can surely say is that Dracula’s Games are very much loved and this gives us real confidence and convinces that Baum vision, values and quality is able to build value outside the Romanian borders.

– The Entertainment Arena Expo fair ended recently and you had a new booth. What were the novelties that BAUM company came with and how was the feedback from the visitors?
– Our concept for the booth was new in itself, outside the standards, which helped the guests become familiar with Baum atmosphere. In other words, we exported into the fair a small piece of Baum Games, the quality, hospitality and comfort that welcome our customers in all our locations. Thus, we have created an appropriate ambience for the guests who had the opportunity to know Dracula’s Games slots. The highlight of this fair was the launch of the sixth version of the MultiGame Dracula’s Games, a new version that pledges to surpass the success of the previous ones, with the three new games signed under Baum Games – Red Dragon, Aztecs and Jewels. RED DRAGON, a game that is different not only by its special graphics but in another payment method of the winning formations, calculated on columns rather than on lines, which is called ‚Super 243 Căi’. The winning of the Free Games will give the player the possibility to choose the number of ‚free games’ that he wishes to play and the volatility. He can also be surprised with a substantial winning from ‚Turtle Bonus’. AZTECS brings upfront the topic and the symbols to have been selected, but it surprises by the adrenalin of the substantial winnigs, a ‚Lucky Win’ with all the 40 selected lines could bring the bet multiplication by 80,000 times.

JEWELS is still a classic at first sight, but it will not miss the podium. It allows to have winning combinations from left to right, from right to left and also on the middle jewels. Again, the ‚Lucky Win’ can bring the bet multiplication by 50,000 times for all the 10 selected lines.

– What are the expectations at the November fair in Argentina?
– When going to such events, this is the best time to ‚feel the pulse’ of the gambling industry. This is where the trend is building and you meet the major operators, where the passion is visible in the process of developing the market dynamics. Participation to these fairs is an important item of our strategy, since it allows us to have access to the international market, to anticipate the coming trends in this industry and, last but not least, to promote the quality, values and vision of Baum, Dracula’s Games and Dracula’s Jackpot, to open new markets and envision fresh and successful opportunities for the Baum products. For SAGSE 2013, in Buenos Aires, we wish ourselves to encounter the same enthusiasm as Dracula’s Games brand did in April, at FADJA 2013, in Columbia.

– What do you think are the drawbacks in the Romanian gambling industry?
– The legal disagreements that are difficult to implement, most times due to the lack of understanding and frequent changes, as well as the absence of an economic stability. Also, the Romanian gambling industry is under a negative influence of the second-hand slot machines, which are of a doubtful quality and most of them are morally worn out.

– Romania, as many other countries, is still under the spell of the world economic downturn. So do all the companies. What exactly did you do to be able to preserve quality, to keep focused on your objective – which is to still satisfy your customers that are going through the same hardships?
– There is no recipe, but there are some ingredients that can be useful, that can make the difference between acting and reacting. We have tried to build our customers’ loyalty, by increasing the trust in the Baum products quality, to be there during the hardest times for them with products and services that are adjusted to their needs, by looking for strategies that will include the satisfaction of the players. This is how we have also convinced many new customers about the advantages derived from a partnership with Baum company.

– What are the future projects for BAUM group?
– We will keep on building value and quality, as a measure of our success, of the products coming from Baum brand. We wish to expand ourselves to the international markets, firstly to the South-American area – whether it is about Columbia, Argentina, Peru, Mexico and Chile, and then to several European markets. The moment the Romanian legislation makes more senses, we will initiate the development on the online gaming market.

– In your opinion, what would be the most opportune to be done by the Romanian authorities as far as legislation, so that gambling will follow an ascendent course, with everything entailed?
– A clearer legislation, easier to implement to the present market, along with the fight against the ‚black market’, either online or land-based – this would bring a healthier business environment and generate a higher profit for the state budget.

– BAUM is a member of ROMSLOT association. How appropriate is the association activity?
– ROMSLOT defines itself as an important and also necessary organization in the slot industry in Romania. From its position, of a binder between the operators and legislation, it is taking steady steps so as to build a strong business context. Many initiatives have been taken to bring benefits to everyone involved in the gambling market and at a social level.
ROMSLOT has been active in initiating and developing of the
‚Responsible gaming’ project, in partnership with Romanian Bookmakers. This is a project with a great social impact, meant to provide support and consultancy to the players who have lost control of their playing hobby and, at the same time, it will make the operators more aware about an ethical behavior.

– How does your work agenda accommodate your family time?
– The family has always been the first Baum team. I have had their support and understanding since the very beginning. The fact that we are both involved in the company issues helps us be more perceptive to each other in terms of how much energy we invest in the company. The weekends and holidays are exclusively spent with our son.

– A regular day in Octavian Manu’s life?
– For the first half of the day, I deal with management matters. The rest of the time I spend for my passion, the research and development of Dracula’s Games products.

– You are very well informed about our publication, ‚Casino Life & Business Magazine’ and its projects. What do you think is the impact of this magazine on the gambling industry? How much do we actually help the people in this sector?
– Success is the sum of the efforts that are directly dependent on the involved factors. The publication ‚Casino Life & Business Magazine’ is one of those factors, and our success also heavily gambles on you.


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