EEGReport Magazine :What are the key updates regarding Responsible Gambling in Romania and what steps are taken to implement it?
Valentina Dobre: The responsible gambling subject is a growing topic in Romania, catching the eyes of both authorities and operators.
One of the key updates on the matter is the new gambling legislation, which stipulates that a national Fund and a public interest Foundation will be created. Its main objective will be to respect the measures on socially responsible gambling. A fund will be set up and all licensed operators will be required to contribute to it. The amounts collected by the Gambling Addiction Prevention Fund will be used among others for protection programs, prevention and treatment of gambling addiction and responsible gambling advertising. All the activities will be developed under the conditions and in accordance with the procedure established by the Romania’s National Gambling Office President.
Moreover, the operators’ interest in responsible gambling is growing. ROMSLOT, the association which I represent and the strongest voice of slot machines industry in Romania and Romanian Bookmakers, the most representative betting association in our country, developed the “Responsible Gambling” program, which is the only functional responsible gaming program in Romania. The program offers a free of charge HELPLINE, through which the gamblers can contact a psychologist and receive free telephone counseling, free evaluation and counseling sessions at one of the program’s practices in Bucharest, Iasi and Cluj, online self-testing on www.jocresponsabil.ro, awareness materials in gaming halls and training courses for employees held by the program’s psychologists.
The program evolved a lot since it was founded in 2012 as new psychologists joined the project, among them the most famous psychologist in Romania, Dr. Cristian Andrei. Our last event success, a practical workshop dedicated to gambling operators, proves the interest that the industry takes in social responsibility. The event offered information for a better management of potential problems occurring in gaming halls and more than 50 operators took part in the workshop.
EEGReport Magazine: In your opinion, is there a need for a common legislation regarding Responsible Gambling across the EU? Please debate why so or not?
Valentina Dobre: Taking into consideration the fact that there is no sector-specific EU legislation for gambling services and each country is allowed to elaborate its own gambling legislation, it is hard to believe that there could be soon a common legislation regarding Responsible Gambling across the EU. But, if in the near future a common legislation is unlikely, a solution could be a set of rules and practices promoted among the European countries. A good example is EUROMAT’s responsible gambling policy, embraced by all its members. The development of such policies could represent a real help for the countries less evolved in this field.
Nevertheless, responsible gambling should be one the key concerns of the gambling industry and it is important that each country encourages through its legislation the development of social responsibility projects.
EEGReport Magazine: You’ve recently attended the Eastern European Gaming Summit where you have represented ROMSLOT and may have probably discussed with many of the industry leaders in terms of Responsible Gambling. How are the experts rating the recent developments of the Romanian Responsible Gambling steps that have been taken?
Valentina Dobre: The Eastern European Gaming Summit was a great opportunity to get an update on Responsible Gambling subject across Europe. I was happy to notice that ROMSLOT efforts towards social responsibility were noticed and appreciated by the experts that attended the event. Moreover, other countries showed their interest in organizing similar projects. One of the most appreciated project was the “Las Vegas Night Out” campaign, which challenged four of the most visible bloggers in Romania, with tens of thousands of readers and followers on Social Media, to spend a few hours in a gaming hall and to describe on their blogs the whole experience. The campaign promoted the idea of individual responsibility and sent a clear message: gambling must be seen only as a form of an entertainment and not as a source of making money.
EEGReport Magazine: You have an extensive experience in the Romanian casino industry. How do you feel about the recent developments in Romania, in terms that the online sector has been enabled, did it have a huge impact on the land-based casinos?
Valentina Dobre: One of the major changes brought by the new Romanian gambling law refers to online gambling. The legal framework introduced new online regulations and allows operators to apply for a license, which resulted in over 15 companies being authorized last year.
But, even though until the introduction of the new law, no operators were licensed, the online gambling in Romania doesn’t represent a new market, as it existed before, but without a legal base. Thus, it is not a new competitor for the land based operators, but it does allow the development of a business in a legal environment.
EEGReport Magazine: Responsible Gambling is a huge topic in every country’s agenda, especially in the emerging markets of Eastern Europe. Which country has taken the most essential steps towards creating a safe environment for the players and could be looked at as an example by neighboring countries?
Valentina Dobre: It is great that responsible gambling is such an important topic in every country’s agenda. In our association we try not to follow a particular example, but to take what’s best from each model. Thus, we organized a best practices exchange workshop, at which representatives from Italy and UK took part. Moreover, we focus on the way other Euromat members deal with problem gambling. We noticed that most responsible gambling initiatives are in fact self-regulation measures taken by the industry.
I strongly believe that every country should be aware of the fact that the authorities and the industry must work together in order to succeed and a partnership between them is the key to a responsible environment.
Valentina Dobre is Vice-President of Romslot-Slot Organizers’ Association and Managing Director at Merkur Entertainment Romania- slot-machines operator. She has over 12 years of experience in gambling industry and she has been heavily involved on strategic and commercial level regarding sales, marketing, administrative and operational activities. As vice president ROMSLOT, she constantly engaged in social responsibility actions of the industry and she supported strengthening of the “Responsible Gambling” Program.
Master Degree International Management and Marketing (2011), Academy of Economic Studies Bucharest
Bachelor’s Degree Management (2007), Academy of Economic Studies Bucharest
Certifications: Project, Sales, Trainer (2010-2011)
Mobile: +40 732 222 167
Address: Bucharest, 180 Gheorghe Titeica Str.
Tom Light -SBTech Interview- (EEGReport – Magazine – Issue2 – February – May 2016)
EEGReport Magazine: Eastern European markets are growing at an incredible rate and I don’t think that anyone can argue about the fact the sports betting is the biggest niche when it comes to online gambling in Eastern Europe. Do you feel that this is accurate?
Tom Light: In most cases yes, we see that in countries such as Bulgaria, Czech, Hungary, Lithuania & Poland, sports betting is accountable for 75%-90% of the Gaming GGR, which includes Sports, Casino, Poker & Bingo. For markets like Latvia, Romania & Slovakia Sports is still a major sector within the gaming industry being accountable for 30%-50% of the GGR.
In play in particular has been a growth denominator in the past years for online sports-betting, allowing the punter roll-over his funds several time during one match.
Beyond the turnover it is important to mention that the margin is much high when it comes to sports betting, as well as the image of sportsbetting, which says that if you are good and knowledgeable you can make money.
We should even see a bigger increase during the Euros coming this June, as many non-punters would start betting on their favorite reprehensive teams.
EEGReport Magazine: Can you maybe give examples of countries where this isn’t happening and casino or other gambling products might surpass the sport betting audience? You can even mention markets that aren’t yet legalized in terms of licensing.
Tom Light: Romania is an example for a country that up to last year had 10% more turnover on casinos then on sportsbetting, I think this is related to regulations and since the new regulations came in to place I’m sure that during 2016 sportsbetting GGR will surpass casino.
To put in perspective, globally, the sportsbetting GGR is bigger than the all the other gaming sectors…Combined!
EEGReport Magazine: There has been a lot of innovation when it comes to sports betting products, and with one of the major European soccer event coming up this June, are you guys busy in the lab trying to bring new technology that will make online sports betting easier or even more attractive?
Tom Light: These days we are simply talking about personalization, which in core is the knowledge the operator has for each of his punters, the more knowledge the more personalized. Data can be gathered via the most common logs of all betting activities, behavior on the website, but even polls and ‘Mark as favorite’ buttons. Mapping this business intelligence is not a simple task, but the operators who are able to do so will have amazing insights on their clients.
Once data is collected and offer must be created via various algorithm and rules, based on many variables such as favorite teams/leagues, past winnings, past losings, trigger-happy cashout, etc… in order to create various offers for example:
“Manchester United did the job for you last time, can they do it again?” (While adding a betting button).
These offers are much more effective and are much more converting then just showing a generic offer to all customers or even to customer segments.
Another way to create offers, is using cross-player data, same as amazon does, with:
“Customer who bought these products, also liked XYZ …”. The likes of Bettorlogic offers this type of service which is taking the betting behavior of punters who made similar bets and are informing the customer which bets he might like. Since this is a more social way of bet recommendation, this might be more appealing to the punter which might not driven from the ‘house’ recommendations, as much as the activities of other partners.
The last part is to serve this offer in a proper matter, which can be targeted ads, SMS marketing, push notifications, widgets / pop-up on the site, or even gentle highlights of bet markets across the page.
EEGReport Magazine: Most of the Eastern European countries have qualified for the EURO 2016, this means that you don’t have to a betting fanatic to bet on your country during such events. Everyone will do it for at list the period on which the tournament is being played. What does this mean for online sports betting operators and especially software providers?
Tom Light: Back in the day, it was very clear, if you are an Italian operator, and there is a game ‘Italy VS Portugal’, you are as much gambling as all the punters on your sportsbook – the risk was one sided, and the results were sometimes amazing but other times destructive.
In today’s world, this scenario cannot happen, the punters are betting 85% of the times on in-play live betting where the bet markets are very liquid, such as fast markets – what will happen in the next one minute, corners, 1×2 rest of the match, etc… all these markets spread the risk around various bet selection making the operator the desired margin instead of a roller coaster.
EEGReport Magazine: Looking further into the future. What are in your opinion the top markets that are going to open up for online gambling in Eastern/Central Europe?
Tom Light: I would look at Netherlands, Czech Republic, Portugal, and the evolving of the Romanian market.
Netherlands being a market proven in the .com market with high PV.
Czech Republic which is the Eastern European diamond, which is now dominated by TipSport, iFortuna, Sazka, Synot and StarTyp will open up Jan 2017 for additional licenses by international companies.
Portugal, with mass-market attraction for sportsbetting, various .com case studies such as BWIN and Betsson(Dhoze).
And of course the Romanian market which is proving to be very fruitful by the day.
Tom John Light Biography – (EEGReport – Magazine – Issue2 – February – May 2016)
Tom John Light was born and presently resides in Tel Aviv, Israel. Tom has lived and traveled worldwide and is highly knowledgeable and experienced working in various global regions.
Tom has been working in the gaming industry for many years with a focus on casino operations and sports betting. Currently Tom acts as Vice President of Business Development at SBTech. He is renowned for his role as Vice President of Business Development at FashionTV. Additionally Tom has successfully served as CEO for several online gaming companies such as 7Red Casino and 1King Casino.
Tom is recognized for his high involvement with the creation of the Online How-To Guide ‘eHow’ and has been featured/published in various interviews and articles.
Gal Ackerman Crowdtrading – (EEGReport – Magazine – Issue2 – February – May 2016)
EEGReport Magazine: In the last couple of years we have seen a growth in the launch of financial programs, but none of them seems to attract so many new traders as Trade360. The innovation which came with CrowdTrading seems to have swept the enthusiastic traders off their feet and they now choose your platform for their trading activities. What is the real innovation behind this phenomenon?
Gal Ackerman: In a nutshell, CrowdTrading is about taking the big data that banks and brokers rely on and putting it in the hands of the people. Revealing how new market trends develop in real-time is really the perfect way for new Traders to get a feel for the rhythm of the markets, and as their knowledge grows, their profits should too!
EEGReport Magazine: When it comes to financial trading programs and platform, a huge concern always is raised and it’s a concern the EU is trying to battle daily. It is concerns regarding Money Laundering. How is Trade360 with such problems, has there been any incident, is it tracked and reported?
Gal Ackerman: We have a talented and experienced team dedicated to AML. So far, we’ve managed to identify and prevent the handful of attempts that have been made to cheat the system. We’ve reported each incident to the appropriate authorities and we’re confident that we’ll continue to stay well ahead of the curve and maintain our all-important integrity.
EEGReport Magazine: Since Trade360 is a rather new financial service form, it falls within the newer and stricter operating guidelines issued by CySEC. How are client deposits protected and standards executed in this enhanced regulation?
Gal Ackerman: Our legal team in Cyprus is in constant contact with CySEc to ensure full regulatory compliance. Our clients’ funds are held securely in segregated accounts at top-tier EU banks and our customer support team is always working to ensure the highest standards of service across the board.
EEGReport Magazine: How are the affiliates taking advantage in promoting this innovative way of trading? There certainly has to be a high demand for marketing materials and payouts. We’ve seen that there is a top $650 CPA for affiliates.
Gal Ackerman: The growth in our Affiliates Programme has been exponential, and we’re all very proud to be part of it. We know that to attract the finest Affiliate talent, we need to pay the best CPA, and I’m so pleased that there have been so many substantial payouts in such a short time. Our USPs are proving to be super-appealing to clients, feedback from Affiliates is universally positive, and it’s very gratifying that collateral take-up is so high.
EEGReport Magazine: As we know, you have always been in the Financial industry. In your expert opinion, can there still be room for innovation in these trading platforms? We have witnessed so many these couple of years, that gave access for individuals that did not know anything about trading to start and venture into this great niche.
Gal Ackerman: I think there will be major convergence between people’s social, leisure and economic networks over the next few years, with advances in augmented reality enabling us to multi-task far more effectively. And with the growth of decentralized, crowd-based and peer-to-peer financial services, I think we’re going to see some very interesting developments in terms of synergy, gamification and crowd investing. Watch this space!
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