Mr. Dan Iliovici has been appointed in March as President of the National Gambling Office ONJN – the Romanian gambling regulator, monitoring and controlling authority.
EEGReport Magazine: We know that you are well known in the gambling industry, however I would like to ask you to give a short briefing of your career to our readers.
Iliovici: After a 20-year career in management, I have ventured into the gambling industry. This happened 6 years ago, when I became Executive manager of an association of the gambling industry, and during the last three years I was vice president at ROMBET. During this period I was also member at the Consultative Council from the National Gambling Office (NGO), taking part in the process reshaping the Romanian gambling market along with the establishment of the new regulatory framework.
As representative of the gambling operators, I have also participated in numerous events. both locally and internationally and contributed to the most important Responsible Gambling programs.
This experience is the foundation from which I take my new role as president of NGO, for the benefit of an industry that I want to become more transparent, more respected and more responsible.
EEGReport Magazine: The Romanian gambling legislation is a great example for regulating a market and making it competitive. As we know, your contribution as vice president of Rombet was of high importance. What are the major projects that you would like to implement as the President of the Romanian National Gambling Office?
Iliovici: Together with all my colleagues from the National Gambling Office (NGO), we aim to build new stages of performance which will sustain the industry at the level it has reached and why not, even raise the bar higher. This way we assure the predictability on the long run for both sides of the industry: the operators and the players. We would like to make sure that the Romanian gambling industry can provide a safe business environment which is stable and transparent.
We have also set ourselves to reduce the bureaucracy, and one of the first steps will be the use of an efficient IT infrastructure and an information sharing. We would like to make the information much more accessible for the industry and for everyone involved (operators, players, the public and mainstream media). We must, and I strongly believe in this, become a example for an efficient and modern interaction with all stakeholders of our industry.
One of the most important projects is the establishment of the foundation for a socially responsible gaming. From the beginnings of my activity in the gambling industry I was extremely involved in assistance of the problem gamblers as well as on the prevention and education of the risks associated with gambling. This program will benefit from all the power and authority of the institution I represent.
EEGReport Magazine: Given the fact that you have been involved in the activities of the NOG (ONJN) before being appointed as President, has your perspective on the market changed since than? Do you know have a clearer vision when seeing all the inside data?
Iliovoci: When you are on the other side of the “barricade” – although I would not call it “barricade” – things are different. Representing the interests of the state and its citizens, ensuring a correct and transparent way of doing business, comes with a huge responsibility.
However, the basis principles remain the same, which we all want to respect. We have, in other words, common interests, both of us, the authority who is in charge to regulate, license and control the industry, as well as the commercial companies, the operators. And these principles are: law enforcement, a stable and predictable regulatory framework, fair competition and last but not least, social responsibility.
EEGReport Magazine: The European Commission addressed the Romanian Government to give a total in-dependency for the NOG and we know that Ms. Odeta Nestor has started making some steps towards making NOG independent. Will you continue making the steps necessary to implement this process?
Iliovoci: An important goal is to become an independent authority, which is subordinated to the Parliament, in accordance with the recommendations of the European Council toward the European Parliament.
I support this with all my strength, an objective which will offer us new and better perspectives for our entire activity.
EEGReport Magazine: Since you have been the host of a numerous fiscality related events in Romania, we clearly have to ask you a question in regards to the implementation of so called “taxation at the source”. Most of the operators and players were carefully examining the new Romania Fiscal Code to see if this was included. What is your opinion about such a taxation?
Iliovici: The NOG has supported tax withholding, because it is a “win-win” situation. The state earns revenues, the players are relieved of the extra paperwork, and operators win in terms of simplified bureaucracy.
However, the enforcement and the adoption of such tax related regulations belong to the Ministry of Finance, for which the NOG can only indicate its arguments upon request.
EEGReport Magazine: Looking further into the future of the Romanian Gambling Market, is there going to be more Responsible Gambling Acts implemented for the online operators? We know that you have always been a large supporter of such acts.
Iliovici: I do not want to refer only at the online gambling industry. It’s about the industry as a whole, which is a special domain, with large economical and social influence, thus the Responsible Gambling programs are extremely important. My experience in this area makes me strongly believe that we can, and must have an important contribution for its future development. We have made great steps, because we already have these programs in our country, we have access to the best practices of other countries, however, as I’ve mentioned earlier, once the public interest foundation will be an established institution , we will develop projects and programs of the greatest impact across Romania.
However, there is still a lot of work in order to change some miss-conceptions and on mentality, something you can’t easily change. But, we are working on that as well, the educational process, the one which involves the player and the operator, and such things are done in time.
I assure you that we will not lower the bar, not even for a single moment. Thank you!
Affiliate Superstars: Dan Bâra of Pariuri1x2 (EEGReport Magazine – Issue 6 – June – September 2017)
Meet Dan Bâra, a sports betting/tipster/editorial veteran who’s been active in this field for many years!!! Dan used to write for a famous newspaper, hosted a radio and TV shows as well.
Name: Dan Bâra
Living in: Bucharest
Favorite Food: Spaghetti
Must Read Book: Inverting the Pyramid: The History of Football Tactics by Jonathan Wilson
Profession/Job title: Journalist
Hi Dan, tell us a bit about yourself, we would like to know who Dan Bâra really is, one of the main persons behind Pariuri1x2.ro. What was the key idea of developing this great betting, tipster website?
Dan: Hi and thank you for your interest in our project. There are many ways to look at a game and people have different ideas and a lot of subjectivity. But what is the common element in this? That is what I always wanted to find out and the result I think is a very good start for making a bet. I was looking to simplify the knowledge and the ideas to one simple truth, like the one a 10 year old can tell in a heart beat.
Tell us a bit about your past, and we refer to your past in the betting/tipster industry!
Dan: I started by playing sports games. Especially football, but I was no stranger to any activity involving effort. I think I have a lot of energy and I need to spend it, so cycling, running, body building and playing tennis were current activities when I was young. Then I started to watch sports on TV after the Romanian 1989‘ so called Revolution. The TV programs were more generous with sports than they were before and I was eager to watch everything. A turning point was when I heard about sports betting. That looked very simple at the first glance. I was amazed how my friends were loosing on their tickets so I wanted to help. Therefore I started an website with sports analyzes and betting tips.
What were the bumps on your road when you got started and how did you overcome them?
Dan: In 2006, after one year of struggling on my own, I had the chance to get a job at the Gazeta Sporturilor newspaper. They had an opening in sports betting so we started to walk together on a 9 years long road. First, I had the chance to write on their website and soon I even made my debut in the newspaper. Again, an year latter, I was on TV and radio. Amazing opportunities! However, it wasn’t easy. I had to overcome my stage fright, I had to change and adapt, to learn more and to become very disciplined.
Next to your website you’re also hosting a TV show called “Un Pont Pe Zi” (A Tip per Day). Let us know how the show is going and also from where came the idea for it?
Dan: I left Gazeta Sporturilor in 2015 because of the changes in the press field. I wanted to start something new and I teamed up again with my old friend and colleague Sabin Pîrvan (from my previous job) in a new project. We knew that we had the experience on our side and still a lot of new ideas to put into practice. We started with a Internet blog and then we created our own website www.pariuri1x2.ro, our Facebook page and our TV show. They were the next logical steps. Now, they are all top quality products because we do it for our people, the ones who need them and the ones who are following us. We respect them and offer our best efforts every day.
We have surfed your website (Pariuri1x2.ro) and found some pretty high quality content. Are you writing it by yourself or you have a team of people writing for you?
Dan: Our main advantage was that we had a lot of trust in us. We invented before a lot of things in the betting editorial area and we felt that our approach makes a difference. So we kept doing our thing. Soon, we started selecting people for our editorial team. Only the best of them were selected and they are working with us now. Together, we make a very solid team, the best in the country and one of the best worldwide.
How do you keep the content fresh and devoid of clutter when a lot of fluff and nonsense appear on the Internet on a daily basis?
Dan: We are journalists and we do solid documentation. We check every information and we also have our very own point of view. The team is always watching the sports events and the ideas are at the first hand.
How about your Youtube Channel, we know that a couple of days ago the channel had it’s first million views?!
Dan: The Youtube channel is the biggest of this kind for the sports betting fans in Romania. It has an impressive increase and all of it it is natural, organic increase. At the time of answering this, it has over 1,2 mil views and 6k subscribers that receive daily updates. The channel hosts parts of the TV show ( most interesting moments ) , a weekly podcast , selections from a new sports TV show where I am co-host ( Unspe Metri ) and a twice per week episode series made by a very popular person in the betting world – Doru Craciun which is also commentator for the Liga 1 matches.
We are sure that you receive daily messages from Affiliate Managers showcasing their products. You of course select them by the brands they work with; but what are your thoughts on how Affiliate Manager-Affiliate relationships should be built?
Dan: The relationships should be based on trust and stability. We only work with long term deals and we select closely the partners which we work with. As we invest tremendous work and money into our project – we expect that our partners to take this into consideration and work with us to improve performance. A little over 2 years ago we started being a very low profile website and now we are number 2 in the market. This should say a lot to the affiliate managers that work or want to work with us.
How do you see the future of the online sport betting industry? For instance, will it become a truly global phenomenon in the near future?
Dan: Well, it is already a global phenomenon and as everybody saw in the last years everything is shifting more and more into online and mobile. Biggest names in the market already have over half of the bets coming from mobile. The expansion to e-sports and other new type of bets shows that this industry constantly adapts and grows no matter what. So betting is here to stay, to increase and to be a part of any new technology or gadget that might appear.
What is your opinion in regards to licenses for online gambling/betting affiliates? How does the Romanian market look, and how do you feel about the present legislation?
Dan: Not to leave the „betting“ field, I would say that the legislation for the online gambling in Romania was a winning bet placed by the government. The licensing costs for affiliates are not the lowest ( 7000 EUR/year ) but any decent person who has a little knowledge can do an affiliate business that would recover this money in a year. It is also a guarantee of trust between operators and affiliates and it ensure a fair competitive market.
How about the situation of the Romanian sports betting market, how does it look in the present, and in which direction is it evolving?
Dan: Regarding the market – it shows a month-to-month increase since the „regulated“ era has begun and based on the size of the traditional land based market it will continue to go up. Players are more and more attracted by the online and companies invest big part of the money in advertising.
Can you name one change that you want to see in the sports betting affiliate ecosystem?
Dan: Taking into consideration that affiliates account for 15-30% of an operator’s revenue I think that affiliates should have a stronger voice in regards with what an operator plans. Being in contact with the players all day long, an affiliate has a great feedback and knowledge of what the market wants and can constitute the key to delivering a more appealing and successful product which in the end would benefit everybody.
What advise you would like to offer to the new affiliates who are looking to venture into this great industry?
Dan: The best advice is that they need to be ready to change, adapt and improve every day. It is not a complicated business and it still can generate a good income – even if started from 0, but as in every industry – success can be achieved only after many hours of hard work and study.
Who is your favorite celebrity/sports person?
Dan: I grew up with some incredible sports legends and the best of them was Diego Armando Maradona. Old school!
If you would just open your YouTube search bar, what would you search for?
Dan: Iron-man contests from Kona, Hawaii.
Back to work. Do you attend any online gambling/sports betting conferences? If so, which one is your favorite and what is your most fun experience?
Dan: Yes, I am attending to conferences and if I am not present then my partners or the marketing team are present. The most constructive ones are the London conferences and the most fun are Amsterdam and a long time ago Barcelona.
How do you rate the chances of Eastern Europe becoming potential gaming hotspot of the future? Where do you think the region must improve upon?
Dan: It is for sure that this region will influence a lot the face of the gambling in Europe. Compared with markets like UK, France, Italy, Spain or Denmark which are saturated and competition is very big – Central and Eastern Europe is like a virgin market. We could compare it with the gold rush. The only problem that this region has it’s the geopolitical stability and sometimes the fact that the markets are not really predictable. ( any day you can be put in front of a situation in which a country decides to ban online gambling )
Alright, here comes the fun part…., where would you like to travel in Eastern Europe, some part of the region maybe that you haven’t visited yet and favorite destination around the world.
Dan: Moscow, I think, from the Eastern Europe. Also, from the rest of the world I would like to see the beautiful city of Rome and travel to Africa.
Where you wouldn’t want to travel in Eastern Europe?
Dan: There isn’t such place.
What is your opinion about GAV (gamblingaffiliatevoice.com)?
Dan: I will be very short and clear about this. I think that it should go on and should evolve into an association at EU level which could stand up for affiliates and the industry. This is something missing since a long time and all affiliates must understand that even if we are all competitors on the same market – together we are stronger and only in this way we can fight for our rights.
Event Report: Affiliate Grand Slam – Mission Accomplished, Wheel Reinvented! (EEGReport Magazine – Issue 6 – June – September 2017)
The demand was there for all to see, then the organisers behind SiGMA came up with the magic formula: limit the conference to five affiliate managers and open the flood gates (with strict due diligence) for affiliates.
Affiliate Grand Slam represents the first conference in the history of affiliation where affiliates could apply for an all-inclusive VIP treat, including flights, five-star, two-night stay at the Hilton, excursions, lunches, dinners, and parties thrown in the mix.
Only five operators were allowed to host the Grand Slam, plus another five non-operators were allowed to sponsor it.
The event started off with 250 affiliates flying in to Tallinn from all corners of the world on Thursday 27th April. The SiGMA crew greeted each affiliate at the brand new, five star Hilton Park.
That same evening, each operator sat down privately with give-or-take fifty affiliates for a dinner within the hotel itself. Betting Gods, Olybet, PlayOJO, Quasar and Videoslots lavished with affiliates and nurtured new working relationships in a friendly environment. Good wine in abundance.
The night was far from over. After dinner, all guests headed down to Olympic Casino within the Hilton itself for welcome champagne, dark chocolate, cigars and a free-roll, networking poker tournament.
The organisers were hoping the night would end there and that affiliates won’t head out in the wilderness of Old Town, but, as anticipated, half their hopes went up in flames.
Still, next morning, breakfast was brimming with activity and all affiliates, bar a few casualties, seemed eager for the conference to start. Each operator gave a small presentation, followed by a series of quality workshops. Mini stalls, an exquisite buffet lunch table, coffee and Baltic treats cluttered the meet-market outside the conference hall, where handshakes and business cards were being exchanged.
Following a few hours at the Hilton spa, it was time for the big traditional dinner! Everyone headed to Olde Hansa, walking through the narrow, cobble streets of charming Old Town, for a feast back in time. Traditional cuisine made its way on all tables for everyone to share while more business cards exchanged hands.
Shortly after dinner, the closing night awaited at the Olympic Casino for a VIP, strictly by invite nighter-bender. Few guests joined the party, but the organisers would not elaborate. We can only guess how the night unfolded with 250 affiliates in this charming Baltic city.
The success of Affiliate Grand Slam was such that the industry won’t wait another year for the organisers to launch the second edition. A new city to uncover, new hosts, new affiliates. This is Affiliate Grand Slam. The wheel has been reinvented.
Log on to www.affiliategrandslam.com or www.maltaigamingsummit.com for details about the next event. If you’re interested in hosting or sponsoring the next AGS get in touch with organisers on +356 99263626, by email at email@example.com or by skype at eman.pulis.
Event Report: First International VR|AR Gambling Conference in Prague (EEGReport Magazine – Issue 6 – June – September 2017)
On April 3, 2017 in Prague, Smile-Expo held the first international specialized VR|AR Gambling Conference, dedicated to implementation of innovative technologies in gambling.
Smile-Expo is a leader in carrying out large exhibitions and conferences in the field of advanced technologies. We’ve set a goal to create a communication platform for specialists of the gambling and AR/VR technology markets, and achieved it: our event brought together leading experts from all over the world (the USA, Spain, Austria, Germany, the Czech Republic, Israel, the Netherlands).
The conference included two subsequent streams: Business and Developer.
This section included presentations of six experts:
- founder of Advir.co Samuel Huber;
- founder of ViARsys Konrad Gill;
- CEO at Games fortuna Tal Zamstein;
- co-founder of Alea/SlotsMillion Alexander Tomic;
- owner of KWP Limited Kevin Williams.
The audience marked the two latter speeches with the following topics: “VR in eGaming” and “Mixed Realities Gaming’s Technology Jackpot”.
By the way, Kevin Williams thanked our company and marked that VR|AR Gambling Conference made invaluable contribution to the industry development.
Reports of this section were informative and topical as well. The floor was taken by:
- Artur Sychov, angel investor at I-MMERSIVE GmbH;
- Alexander Bragin, creative director at VR2GO;
- Amir Ebrahimi, team leader at Unity Technologies.
Lectures were practical and held attention of the audience from the beginning to the end. People have even taken photos of the presentation of Amir Ebrahimi from Unity Technologies on the topic “State of the VR Industry in 2017” in order not to miss useful information and apply it in practice.
We have chosen an ideally targeted line-up of speakers and guests, so VR|AR Gambling Conference was carried out in the format of a lively discussion: audience asked clear questions and received vivid answers.
There was a network demo zone from such companies as Advir, I-MMERSIVE GmbH, VR2GO, etc., which became a convenient platform for establishing relationships in the field of gambling. Visitors were able to test the latest developments of VR/AR products there as well.
The event organizer, Smile-Expo that always implements the most innovative and interesting projects, expresses gratitude to all guests and participants for their interest and engagement in the event. See you at the next conferences!
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