Our colleague Szaló Réka managed to interview Mr.Vaněk David, who is the General Manager of Fortuna Entertainment Group
Thank you very much for being available for this interview. First I would like to ask you to shortly introduce yourself. I have read in your CV that you have 17 years experience in Consumer Finance, and you joined the Fortuna Entertainment Group in January 2016. Why did you choose gaming, or may I ask: did the industry choose you?
Vaněk: I joined Fortuna via executive search company who interviewed me back in 2015. I found out about Fortuna later in the interview process. Once I found out the company name I immediately said: “this is the company I want to work for!”. Spontaneus Brand awareness of Fortuna is about 98% in the Czech republic therefore working for such a brand is also very prestigious.
Currently you are the General Manager of Fortuna Entertainment Group. Will you please tell us more about this association, its activity and its goals?
Vaněk: Fortuna Entertainment Group was established in 2009 on the basis of 3 companies operating in the Czech republic, Slovakia and Poland. Czech Fortuna however was established right after “velvet revolution” in 1989 and it is one of the most traditional companies in Central and Eastern Europe.
What role did or does Fortuna undertake in developing the legal gambling framework in your country?
Vaněk: We have been actively involved in development of new law that came to force in January 2017 and replaced old gambling act from 1990´s.
What is your opinion about the actual state of the gambling industry in the Czech Republic and in Europe in general? What are the major issues that should be solved and what role can Fortuna Entertainment Group play in this process?
Vaněk: First of all I would focus on the Czech republic. New law gave us opportunity to enhance our product offer by online casino and lottery products – online slots, poker, bingo. However it is important to state that this is very new to regulators who seems to me need to go through painful process of understanding key elements of this. And it has got impact on licensing, certification process that seems to be very long. From European perspective, there are interesting trends that can be observed also in our region: mobile first, more regulations, more online and less retail as well as consolidation.
I have read on your webpage that the company you represent has a clear vision regarding the future of gaming industry in the Czech Republic and why not of Europe. Please tell us about the future or near future plans of Fortuna.
Vaněk: Our strategy is aligned with trends I have mentioned previously. Our plans consist of expansion of products in markets we operate in and also geographical expansion in Central and Eastern Europe.
Fortuna Entertainment Group betting company operates on three European markets: the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland. Teel us please more about the characteristics of these three markets, the differences, or similarities of situations you have experienced so far.
Vaněk: I should add that we have recently acquired Irish based company who operates in Romania, Croatia and Spain and their B2B is also in Germany and other European countries.
Back to your original question: Czech, Slovakia market is very similar. Poland has been very specific in terms of size of offshore market (around 90%) and we are happy that Polish government is working now on this with the view to reduce offshore market in the future.
We know that Fortuna is a setter of trends and innovator in the betting industry in the Central European Region. What products do you offer to your clients and which are the most successful, the most popular?
Vaněk: Except traditional sports betting, we launched new online casino in the Czech republic in February as the first operator in the market, so this very fresh experience. Performance as well as feedback from customers is positive.
I’m personally proud of our new mobile app for sports-betting that has won some awards already and we are very excited to work on other features that will bring even better customer experience.
Which has been the most successful experience since you have worked at Fortuna Entertainment Group?
Vaněk: First one relates to 2016 performance where Czech Fortuna achieved all time high performance with year-on-year revenue growth in excess of 20%.
Second one I have mentioned already, that we were the first operator who got the license to operate online casino in the Czech republic. Licensing process has been very demanding and the fact that nobody else has received same license so far (June, 2017) shows how big success we have achieved.
If you could change anything in the world of gambling what would that be?I
Vaněk: My role is to make things happen therefore I don’t spend time thinking about this type of questions 🙂
Who is your favorite actor or actress?
Vaněk: Tom Hanks
Where would you travel the most in Central Europe?
Vaněk: Prague, Budapest and Vienna, of course. In addition I like for example Cesky Krumlov – beautiful city in south of Bohemia (part of Czech republic).
Which are those places in Central Europe that you are not interested in, and you would not like to visit them?
Vaněk: Every place is worth visiting – even places that are not looking nice or attractive will enhance your experience.
Prague Gaming Summit 2018 is set to become a platform designed for regional regulatory updates, innovations talks and social responsibility
The second edition of Prague Gaming Summit is set to become a leading platform which will highlight the Slovakian, Czech and Polish market, while also focusing on the latest innovations which are trending at this moment and help increase the social awareness of the industry.
Regulatory updates from Slovakia, Czech Republic and Poland
As is typical, legislation has lagged behind innovation in the industry in Europe and we’re just starting to see more nations undertake the balancing act between ensuring they generate sufficient tax revenue, and providing a safe environment for their bettors. This process is made particularly difficult since levying too much tax will discourage investment in localities, as well as promote a move to less regulated, altogether dodgier iGaming venues from the punters themselves. Despite the divides between legislators, there are still good offers for specific counties across Europe. The Czech, Slovak and Polish market are not among them. This is why we are reaching out to the industry to encourage this effort of bringing together the key stakeholders of the industry to discuss potential amendments.
The special regulatory briefings will be held by top names of the industry who are well known in the region for their contributions to the online and land based gambling market and here are some of the already experts that will speak during the regulatory update panels:
Dr. Robert Skalina(WH Partners), Jakub Kolomicenko (Endorphina), Jan Rehola (PS Legal), Vojtech Chloupek (Bird&Bird), Piotr Dynowski (Bird&Bird), Tal Zamstein (Fortuna Group), Bogdan Coman (Rombet)
Social Responsibility, Anti-Money Laundering and Gambling Licensing Procedures
Social responsibility is all about protecting players from gambling-related harm and the organizers encourage the fact that crime should be kept out of gambling. The industry is facing a period in which more and more regulated markets are adopting licence conditions and codes of practice which revolve around responsible gambling. However, these programs should be implemented in a manner that it does not block the industry totally.
When speaking about the implementation of the EU AMLD we must mention the fact that there are rumors about a 5th AMLD which will focus on the following 5 main requirements: Extending the Directive Scope to include Virtual Currencies, Addressing the Issue of Anonymity in Relation to Prepaid Cards, Beneficial Ownership Registers, Enhancing cooperation and information sharing among EU financial intelligence units and Developing a Consistent EU Approach Toward High-Risk Third Countries.
The already confirmed speakers of the discussion are: Pieter Remmers(Assissa), Alex Henderson (The Ritz Hotel Casino London), Dan Iliovici (Romanian National Office for Gambling), Martin Arendts (ARENDTS ANWÄLTE)
Innovation Talks, Retention and Marketing
There is no doubt that talks around crypto is going to be among the highlights of many industry related news, thus we are once again putting together a panel where the experts of the crypto industry will share their wisdom and talk innovations.
For the first time in our portfolio, we are implementing a panel style workshop which will revolve around Conversion and Retention which will help attending delegates to gain access to information that will help increase their profit.
The already confirmed experts of the panels are: Tal Itzhak Ron (Tal Ron, Drihem and Co. Law Firm), Quirino Mancini (Tonucci & Partners), Max Krupyshev(Cubits), Robert Dowling (EveryMatrix), Joseph Borg (WH Partners)
With such an incredible lineup of expert speakers, the event is expected to surpass the inaugural edition in numbers and networking opportunities as we are already receiving a high number of registrations.
Delegate pass price breakdown:
•Early Bird Rate (60% Off): 199 EUR – Sales end on December 31, 2017
•Combo – Early Bird Rate + 2 nights accommodation (60% Off): 379 EUR – Sales end on December 31, 2017
•Advance Rate (40% Off): 299 EUR – Sales end on March 22, 2018
•Combo – Advance Rate + 2 nights accommodation (40% Off): 479 EUR – Sales end on March 22, 2018
•Regular Rate (no discount): 499 EUR – Sales end on March 29, 2018
Tickets can be registered via the special new registration gateway created by EEGEvents where you can opt for fiat and cryptocurrency payments.
Register here: http://bit.ly/Prague18
We are looking forward to welcoming you in Prague as well as your contributions to the topics!
Czech customs officers crack down on illegal gambling
A significant illegal gambling crackdown continues in the Czech Republic where customs officers have seized 830 illegally operating gambling machines and 2.5 million crowns (97.313 EUR) in proceeds from illegal gaming across the country, reports the Prague Daily Monitor.
The Czech Customs Administration revealed the money and gambling devices were confiscated in just the past ten months and were the results of 1,417 raids by custom officers. The machines seized were slot machines, electronically operated roulette tables, quiz machines and other gambling games.
The Czech Customs Administration has been investigating the nation’s gambling industry looking for any violations conducted by stakeholders as well as by illegal entities. Under the country’s gambling laws, unauthorized gambling operators face stiff fines and equipment seizures.
Czech lottery operator Sazka Group considers London share listing
Sazka Group said that it is considering an initial public offering in London to boost Europe operations.
Sazka Group, Czech-based lottery and gaming operator, revealed that it is considering a initial public offering (IPO) in London in order to help fund growth in Europe. The group has hired global coordinators to help them make a decision.
Owned by Karel Komarek’s KKCG group and Jiri Smejc’s EMMA Capital, Sazka Group has experienced a significant growth in the last few years thanks to a series of acquisitions. The group said on Friday that it hired JP Morgan Cazenove, Citigroup and Morgan Stanley to be joint global coordinators, even if a decision on an IPO hasn’t been made yet.
Chief Executive Robert Chvatal,commented: “We are evaluating several options to support our growth, including an initial public offering.” And added: “We believe in future growth via product innovations, customer experience in online as well as, when available, via further geographical expansion.”
The group avoided any details regarding a timeframe for a potential IPO. Sazka operates in Czech Republic, Austria, Cyprus and Italy and wants to enter new markets in Europe. For example, it holds a 72 percent stake in a fund that controls 33 percent stake in Greek betting monopoly firm OPAP.
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