Traditional gambling without restrictions, but with an armed conflict on the border

Ana Maria Mărculescu

How did the pandemic period for Eldorado end? How did you evolve during this period?
The pandemic period for Eldorado, from my point of view, is not over yet. The effects of the pandemic are still being felt on all levels. It will be a long process to restore the normalcy we were used to before. Even though these years of not being able to make long-term plans were a challenge, we were able to take our course and open two more new locations.

What does it mean to lift all restrictions from your point of view?
For us, lifting all restrictions is like a necessary breath of fresh air, which gives us confidence that we can evolve on a natural course to overcome this period.

How is the war in Ukraine reflected in your work? Did refugee players appear in the halls?
A conflict never brings anything good, especially after this difficult period of the pandemic. The economic effects of this conflict will be felt in the long run and not just by our industry. At this time, safe interaction with refugees only existed in relief campaigns.

What do you think that are the most burning issues in the industry right now?
At this point, all issues are important. We are talking about an industry whose activity has been restricted for 2 years, but which has paid taxes in full, although the restrictions imposed have limited our capacity and operating hours. The situation of human resources that bypassed this industry due to the uncertainty caused by the pandemic should also be mentioned.

Cristi Mihai
General Manager of
Palace Casino Casa Vernescu

How did Palace Casino get over the pandemic?
Everything, not just Palace Casino or the gambling industry, had to relate to a new and unexpected reality since the pandemic. The traditional gambling sector has been severely affected by the restrictions and I emphasize the “traditional” because on the other hand the online casinos have certainly registered an increase, the restrictions in www being practically non-existent.
In two years I had the activity stopped or restricted for almost 400 days.
So it was and is a time of many changes, difficult in every way. Palace Casino has tried to minimize the financial impact on employees and provide a pleasant gambling experience for visitors during the time we were able to operate.

What does lifting restrictions mean to you?
As I said, we are already referring to the new realities of the gambling market. It’s very difficult to make predictions. For now, the important thing is that I survived. About 250 employees returned to work trying to overcome all the shortcomings created by this pandemic.
So do our guests, after a long time we can see our smiles again. We hope that the coming months will bring us a boost of confidence in the first place. I think the economic and psychological effects of the pandemic will be felt for a while. The most important goal at the moment is to be present and carry on the Palace Casino tradition.

Does the military conflict in Ukraine affect you? Have there been any casino players among the refugees?
You are referring to an extremely unfortunate situation. Our casino does not target refugee players and we have no visitors, neither Russians nor Ukrainians, but we have refugee employees. Palace Casino is ready to lend a helping hand to those who have been evicted from their homes, from their daily routine, from their families. We thus offer a small helping hand to desperate people. The activity of the Casino was not directly affected by the war but rather indirectly by the economic fluctuations produced by this unfortunate event.

Does the new normal change your marketing strategy?
Obvious! Marketing plans were abruptly discontinued in March 2020 with the onset of pandemic restrictions in our country. We are working on resuming and adapting the marketing plan. Consumer-oriented service industries have been hardest hit by the fight against the virus. The consequences are now difficult to calculate. We have several scenarios for the future, it remains to be seen what choices we will make and what will give us new normalcy.

Attila “Otto” Török, Strategy Manager of Game World Romania
and the Manager of the games room at Mall Vitan in Bucharest

How did Game World get over the pandemic?
The last two years have been very difficult for all land-based operators. At Game World we have focused on organizing the safest conditions for both customers and employees. We also kept the ambiance and vibe specific to our rooms, during the periods when we were allowed to operate, even with program restrictions and conditions related to the number of customers or the green certificate. In this regard, I remind you that Game World was the first network of gaming halls in Romania that received the Dekra certification for trusted locations, in February 2021 and which still holds this certification.

What does lifting restrictions mean to you?
Lifting restrictions is a long-awaited sign of a return to normalcy. We can all start to repeat what we know how to do best and at Game World this means first of all fun, socializing, entertainment. We’re glad we can restart shows and parties and respond to our customers’ entertainment preferences. Moreover, it is important to change the mood of the people. The wide smiles on the faces of colleagues and customers communicate hope and optimism much better than when we could only smile behind masks.

Does the military conflict in Ukraine affect you?
Of course, the war so close to our borders is a very big concern. We are all concerned about what is happening now and what may happen next. The economic impact is already being felt and is very likely to worsen and last a long time from now. Emotionally, the drama of refugees in the neighboring country has an even stronger effect on the general mood and uncertainty for the period ahead is a major concern.

How does the new normal change your marketing strategy?
As I said, the changes are more tactical than strategic. Even during the pandemic, we kept our strategy of offering our customers a pleasant experience, in an elegant environment, with attentive services and very good quality. We have adapted and found solutions to get through this difficult period and now we return to a consistent, attractive and generous calendar of events. In Game World halls we have both the necessary space and all the facilities to offer customers a wide variety of entertainment options. Whether we are talking about art shows, parties or awards promotions or we are referring to restaurants, bars or terraces for customers, we can now offer again the complete entertainment experience that has consecrated the Game World halls.

Nicolae Sapianic, Sales Manager of Commodity Trust AG S.R.L.
The company offers service, spare parts and gaming equipment from various manufacturers.

What did the pandemic mean for Commodity Trust AG SRL?
Honestly, I didn’t have any problems during this time. We sell worldwide, starting with Kazakhstan and ending with Latin America.
The problems were related to the logistics and delivery of parts from China and Taiwan, as well as the fact that components and consumables became very expensive. This has led to rising equipment prices.

What does the current situation mean when the restrictions were lifted?
Producers came to the aid of operators and increased prices less than they should have been, ie in proportion to the increase in the prices of components, logistics or energy.
The market continues to grow so that operators have started ordering better equipment that complies with the new legal requirements.

Is the armed conflict in Ukraine a problem for equipment suppliers?
The biggest problem is that three markets have been lost – Ukraine, Belarus and Russia, and we don’t know when they will reopen.
In Romania, at the moment, the conflict does not affect us, but it is possible that it will affect us later through its consequences.
At the moment, however, we can observe and talk about logistical and transport problems in Poland and Ukraine.

How does the problem of Ukrainian refugees feel?
At this stage we cannot say that the refugee problem would have had any changes on the field in which we operate, but, taking as an example the experience of states that have previously faced this phenomenon, I believe that in the short term it will have small positive effects on the economy. , and in the long run it depends on how the state manages the integration of refugees into employment. In our turn, we will be willing to support initiatives aimed at helping refugees to integrate.

What are the most burning issues of the gambling industry in Romania?
Many operators buy 10-20 devices, one under the license of another and, unfortunately, do not know the field. For example, they buy non-original equipment and carry out non-market activities. Thus doing a disservice to the whole industry.

Cristian Roman
Geneneral Manager of
Get’s Bet

How did the pandemic end for Get’s Bet? How did you evolve during this period?
This whole period has been very difficult for the traditional gambling industry. Licensed economic operators in the field of gambling were among the first to be affected by the measures taken by the authorities in an attempt to limit the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. At the beginning of this pandemic, the activity was completely suspended, which resulted in constant uncertainty, but we learned to adapt to the measures taken, the new conditions imposed and, gradually, we try to return to the situation before the pandemic.

What does it mean to lift all restrictions from your point of view?
We and the Get’s Bet customers are glad to be out of the alert and that the restrictions have been lifted. Moreover, we are glad that the number of people infected with the virus is declining and that we can gradually return to a normal life.

How is the war in Ukraine reflected in your work? Did refugee players appear in the halls?
The war in Ukraine has not directly affected activity, but it seems to be accelerating the rise in prices that began in 2021. So far, we have not received any information about refugee players.

What do you think that are the most burning issues in the industry right now?
We consider that the biggest problem is represented by inflation, the galloping increase of all prices, starting with utilities and continuing with consumer goods, fuel, etc. At the same time, we still cannot completely rule out a possible increase in the daily number of SAES-Cov-2 virus infections, namely the imposition of restrictive measures to prevent and / or limit as much as possible the effects of the pandemic, restricting the activity of licensed economic operators in the field of gambling. good luck, the operating schedule or even the total suspension of the activity with the public.

How long do you think it will take for the whole society to return to normal? What about the industry?
We do not know what the unit of time will be, but we can say that this whole journey that each of us took during the pandemic was difficult, and getting out of the pandemic is even less automatic. We want to get back to normal as soon as possible, to the life before the restrictions, both we, as gambling organizers, and the whole society, but we must all be aware that we will need to redefine the notion of “normal”.

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