Talking to Calin Florea owner Super Jackpot
The state is the one that should be very interested in promoting the field as long as it is legalized and expects a good collection to the Budget.
➤ Who are you Calin Florea and how did you end up doing business in this field?
I am still a young (retired) man with 26 years of activity in the field of gambling. Education: mechanical engineer of hydraulic machines + Faculty of Mathematics + qualification at work. I consider that I am one of the two, three people from Romania who have the live casino in their blood. I learned it by standing next to my first partner (English) who had 50 years of experience in live casino in almost everyone and using the baggage of mathematical and technical knowledge I consolidated this practice. Not a day goes by that I admit that I have read a lot of specialized books; I have experienced and verified the lessons learned from the books and practice. All these situations in which the business puts you to make decisions made me trust “luck”. A happy incident made me meet this English gentleman who fascinated me with his knowledge and who asked me to help him in certain legislative issues. That’s how I came to initiate myself in a field that has no schools, practice and the intuition of the one who wants to initiate you with a special importance, as well as the charm of this Mr. Bob Faulkner – Robert. Now that so many years have passed since the appearance of the film Casino with Robert de Niro and reviewing it countless times I can say that 80-90% of the action of the film matches the situation in Romania in 1995-2015 with small exceptions and of course on a scale lower and anytime an ingenious director could make a very interesting film – I’m at his disposal.
Calin Florea owner Super Jackpot
➤ What are the areas in which you have invested?
I started with the hottest field – live casino – in the pioneering era, 94-95. In 20 years I have been a shareholder in 8 casinos starting with Băile Felix, Oradea, Cluj Napoca, Timișoara and R.D.Congo – Kinshasa. At the beginning of the 2000s, we also invested in game halls – Super Jackpot Timișoara. Lately I have also tried the field of sports betting – GoBet and Mozzart franchises. I had the greatest satisfaction in live casinos which, as everyone admits, are the father and mother of gambling. But even the biggest disappointment comes from the fact that the legislature underestimated the importance of live casinos. Between a live casino and other gambling activities taken apart, there is a difference between a supermarket and a boutique, without upset “friends know why”. That is why I consider it a big mistake and an injustice made by marginalizing the field due to the hunger to collect as much money as possible to the Budget.
➤ What does the state want from this field?
For 30 years it seemed to me that the state did not know what to ask from this activity. At the same time, let us admit that there was a lot of pressure in the legislative field (regulations) but the state did not have a uniform view in which to combine the material benefits (taxes, duties, licenses, authorizations) with the social aspect. If for money they pressed for acceleration at a crazy pace with day-to-day increases of 30% to 800%, unbelievable in a civilized world, the social part remained marginalized, considering both companies operating according to established rules of them as well as the human component (players and qualified staff) as something second-hand; they were never involved in defending petty criticism from the media as if we had a semi-illegal or notorious activity. The material part is made monthly in proportion of 99.9% but who solves the image problems? It’s getting harder and harder to defend your image as long as those who take your money don’t help you. Here, however, I would like to point out that the structure of gambling – legalized – is becoming more and more a nuance compared to the image in the world of this field. The game, the game on real-money has always been an intensely human activity that in the end should bring you satisfaction or even if you lost a feeling that it was worth spending 2-3 hours in that place but imagine how it feels someone who loses 1,000, 2,000, 5,000 lei to a device in a village lost by the world or online at night under the duvet.
➤ What are the main problems?
In my experience, there would be those related to the connection between stakes (money played) and the social aspect, respectively the socialization offers:
a. betting shops can use a maximum of 7 class B devices
b. the game halls to have at least 30 devices in the province and at least 60 devices in Bucharest
c. online games only with class B devices and limiting bets for betting, poker, other games
d. elaboration of an appropriate legislation for live casinos with a single license comprising at least 70 provincial machines, 140 Bucharest, minimum 6 provincial gaming tables, 12 Bucharest, poker room, sports betting shops, provision of special restaurant services, bar , live music, entertainment
All the spaces in the field must create a minimally elegant atmosphere with extreme superiority to live casinos. It is not for nothing that those who visit Las Vegas or the big casinos come with great impressions.
Who do you think gave the charm of Constanta or Sinaia casino if not gambling with special services and shows.
➤ Who should initiate the reform?
First of all, ONJN, but which at the moment is an institution of control and storage of information. The step towards reform must be made in collaboration with associations and those with experience in the field, under the umbrella of the Ministry of Finance and other ministries, such as: Interior, Culture, Sports, Economy. Shamelessly, they have something to learn from our experience. It should initiate a few directions to change the terrible image from the media point of view, then come the restructuring I mentioned. For now, the sector shows that it is a milking cow for both the state and certain organizers.
Talking to Calin Florea owner Super Jackpot
➤ What could the associations actually do?
Associations need to understand that the image of the field is at the forefront. It is the beginning of a reform in the interest of all. The image must be real and emphasize the pluses and not the minuses of this field of entertainment. How could we imagine that a large company would invest in a luxury resort with a casino like the one being built in Cyprus in Brasov or Constanta or in a big city if the image of the domain is blamed even by obstructing mayors the activities of the field and what could be for Romania such a resort with 4-5,000 rooms, with a casino of 70-80 tables and 1-2,000 machines, etc?
The associates arrived at the balance sheet time; to check what they have achieved for the field in the last 20 years and to make a comparison with those from HORECA, how they defended their field. We need a step before we come out not only prime numbers but also quality.
➤ How can the state be more involved in this reform?
He is the one who should be very interested in promoting the field as long as it is legalized and expects a good collection to the Budget, not only directly but also through collateral activities. I knocked on several doors and proposed a stronger commitment to the reform that the state should start. We proposed a public-private partnership achieved by setting up the National Gambling Company, which should also include the Lottery (proven to be semi-bankrupt for decades). In addition to the lottery, the Company should easily set up 2-3 live casinos and Gaming Halls, then participate in foreign market auctions, casinos, cruise ships, which in the future will have a very large development or in the establishment of some casinos in exotic places or even taking over management at some established casinos. I am referring to what Casinos Austria has been doing for decades, which largely uses Romanian labor. What you need to know is that in addition to the level of investment, the very important part is the staff. In the last 30 years, Romania has trained tens of thousands of young people who have qualified in the field, possess very high level skills and knowledge and who work in the big casinos in the world, on cruises or exotic places. I know from experience that success depends on place, place, place (investment), but also on the staff we can have at our disposal. For the last 30 years we have taken the place of the English in terms of the number and quality of staff in casinos abroad.
Calin Florea owner Super Jackpot
➤ In the current situation, how do you see the problems of the organizers?
Starting to answer directly:
– Live casinos – bankruptcy
– Games halls: 20-25% de creasing of the activity on the number of devices + staff
– Betting shops: decreasing the activity that will be difficult for small organizers to bear
– Poker rooms: a lot of bankruptcy while the world is scared
– Online: with some gain, but mandatory for the protection of players must be considered limiting the stakes as is done in other countries
In addition to these problems caused by the virus, there are others created by collaborators and those who coordinate and verify the activity
a. A cartel has been created of large appliance manufacturers that keep the rental price at a very high level (for the attention of the Competition Council). It is not normal for the price of renting a device to be approximately equal between companies or even higher than the monthly authorization fee
b. ONJN and Metrology have not included for years in the TA regulations a minimum level of the percentage of gain declared and guaranteed by the manufacturer that can be controlled and certified. Also this percentage can be modified in 3-4 steps at the request of the organizer after the necessary technical checks. You can’t be in the hands of the manufacturer! In the foreground, the interests of the organizer who pays taxes, rents, salaries, licenses must take precedence. It can be seen from a post that it is a noncombat between ONJN, Metrology – producer. Why were the old devices with a variable percentage? The high rent price and the fixed percentage make the organizer a field of experience for the producer. And as a current issue I would like to see if the periods of interruption of activity, 23-06, are deducted from the payment of rents, approximately 25% of the operating time during the alert state as well as from the amount of taxes. I hope that ONJN will pay more attention to the organizers, because they are the ones who are carrying the burden and in fact they are the main pillar of the activity.
➤ Thanks and good luck in the future!