Our colleague, Szaló Réka managed to interview Mr. Mihnea Popescu-Grisogono who is currently the founder and the President of Casino Life & Business Magazine, the first and the most popular gambling magazine in Romania.
The magazine was two times nominated as “The Best Offline Gambling Magazine” in the world at the International Gaming Awards in London, UK and its Facebook profile has more than 12000 fans. Casino Life & Business Magazine is a media partner to the most important gaming trade fairs in the world including ICE – London, UK or G2E – Las Vegas, USA.
Mr.Popescu-Grisogono organized over 100 international events all over the world out of which more than 30% were dedicated to gaming. Mr. Popescu-Grisogono holds a Master of Science in Aeronautics and a NATO Senior Executive Master and he was elected as “Man Of The Year” by the American Biographical Institute in 2004 and included in the “Who’s Who Contemporary” catalogue.
First of all thank you very much for accepting this interview. I would like to ask you to shortly introduce yourself to our readers.
Popescu-Grisogono: I’m 53. I graduated the Airships Faculty and International Economic Relations Academy, both from Bucharest. Afterwards, I also graduated the National Defence College. I have a NATO Senior Executive Master and lots of other qualifications which I’m very proud of. I have a very nice family and I love what I do.
When and why you started working in this industry?
Popescu-Grisogono: I started 11 years ago while thinking where the big money was and how I could reach it. I designed the Casino Life & Business Magazine project from scratch and, year by year, I added some new ideas in order to make it more and more viable and more and more useful.
Which were the most difficult periods in your career and what do you consider your personal success?
Popescu-Grisogono: It is hard to say. But looking into the past I think the most difficult period was 8 years ago when I suffered a heart attack. While I was in the hospital a couple of my employees tried to steal my business and started another magazine using our database, our clients and everything. What is more, they interrupted all our contracts. My personal success is that I have survived both the heart attack and my employees’ attack.
As the founder and the President of Casino Life & Business Magazine, the most popular gambling magazine and the organizer of several international events what is your opinion about the gambling industry in general in Europe and particularly in Romania?
Popescu-Grisogono: I think the gambling industry suffers a lot. Even it is one of the most efficient industries, making all governments rich; it is used like a scapegoat. During elections usually everybody blames it. Afterwards everybody wants to get as much as they can out of it. The same goes for Romania.
What are the major problems, challenges this industry in Romania has to face and what solutions would you suggest for these problems?
Popescu-Grisogono: In this moment Romanian has one of the best gaming legislations in the world. The only problem for Romania is that the people are not rich enough. This leads us to the core: on one hand they can not play as much as they would want to and on the other hand the players want to get rich out of gambling. Gambling is for fun not for getting rich – this is very hard to understand by some.
Also, I’m sure some investors will say that taxes are very high which I totally disagree. If you want to take high advantages from this industry you also have to pay at the same level.
I don’t want to give any suggestions. We are a media vehicle and we want to keep it that way. There are a lot of consultants ready to give suggestions.
What do you think about the future of the Eastern European gambling industry, especially focusing on the markets you have more experience in?
Popescu-Grisogono: There are more points that have to be touched; and not only for the Eastern European countries. One is that all the countries should give full permission to gambling. Gambling is in the human nature. No one can stop it. So, if one country will try to stop or limit it, the players will go underground and the industry will become also dangerous. Another thing is that the investors should try to understand the changes which happen in today’s industry: the mixture between the land-based and the online gambling. Another point is linked to the legislations and regulations. My opinion is that countries should try to relax the regulations and this way they would collect more money out of this business. Last but not least there are the responsible gambling projects. Each country should have something like this.
What upcoming events is the company focusing on nowadays and how prepared is the company for these events?
Popescu-Grisogono: We live out of our new project so, we are ready to perform. We think on projects which are more and more useful to our readers and to our partners. We also propose to our partners news projects and new ideas, tailor-made for them. If they develop we will develop. It is a win-win situation.
Tell us please about the future plans, projects of Casino Life & Business Magazine.
Popescu-Grisogono: The market is global. So, this is our goal; to play in the first league. We started with media partnerships all over the world. After that we start granting the Casino International Awards at ICE. These days we are launching a TV channel, just for gambling events. In the near future we will be involving in international projects. But, most important: we will preserve our high quality products because only having high standards one can succeed.
What can you tell us about your readers? Which are the most popular topics they are interested in, and do you have a permanent communication with your readers? Do you consider this important?
Popescu-Grisogono: Our readers are smarter then others. They believe in us and we treat them well. We ask them 4-5 times a year about their opinion for the Awards Gala (local or international) and we value their answers. We do not cheat on them and they are loyal to us. Actually they are our most valuable asset. We have a drop box were they can leave their suggestions and we keep a permanent contact with them.
Who is your favorite actor or actress?
Popescu-Grisogono: Richard Gere and Salma Hayek
Where would you travel the most in Central Europe?
Popescu-Grisogono: Unfortunately Central Europe is not my favorite place to travel to. I prefer exotic destinations.
What is your hobby?
Popescu-Grisogono: Driving, gardening and above all Philosophy.
OneTouch unveils new Russian Poker release
Single-touch ergonomics make it perfect for on-the-go betting
Monday, 5th February 2018 – Premium games developer OneTouch will arrive at ICE 2018 armed with Russian Poker – it’s latest industry-leading online table game.
Russian Poker offers a unique version of player vs house poker, where the player is dealt five cards and is offered the chance to exchange cards or buy an additional card to make two five-card hands.
Players can also take insurance and buy the dealer a card if they don’t qualify with their opening five cards. This exciting version of casino poker is sure to be an online hit in Eastern European markets where the game had a large and loyal following in land-based casinos.
Matthew Rochman, Head of OneTouch, added: “We’re always looking to add a modern flair to traditional table games and that’s exactly what we have done with Russian Poker.
“The game is hugely popular in Eastern Europe and we are confident players will love our crystal-clear graphics and mobile-first approach as we bid to make it a modern-day classic.
“We believe we are the first company to deliver a state-of-the-art mobile version of Russian Poker and operators who have received been given a sneak preview of this games are excited and keen to add it to their portfolio in 2018.”
The decks are also shuffled using a Provably Fair RNG, allowing players to verify the integrity of the shuffling and cards dealt to them, creating a gaming experience which is both exciting, enjoyable and fair.
OneTouch’s full portfolio of titles, which also includes roulette, blackjack and baccarat, will all be available to demo on Stand S9-112 at ICE 2018.
Isle of Man-based OneTouch Technology Ltd develops premium table games for online casinos worldwide by combining innovative mobile-first designs with sharp single-touch interactivity to deliver a superior online gambling experience on both desktop and hand-held devices.
For more information, please visit www.onetouch.io
Greek Casinos Could Start Giving Loans
A new bill tabled in the Greek parliament on Monday could allow casinos to lend money to reliable customers to gamble.
In an omnibus bill being voted on Monday amid strikes and protests, there is a provision which will enable casinos to lend over 50,000 euros to select customers to continue playing if they need to, a Greek finance ministry source said.
This new law is aimed at foreign customers, to facilitate more spending in Greek casinos. The idea behind the bill is that studies show many gamblers decide on the place where they will spend their holidays on the presence of casinos where lines of credit are available.
These loans will not involve cash but special chips to be used exclusively inside a particular casino. To convert these special chips into money, any casino loan must have been repaid in full.
Chips will be counted as casino revenue, meaning gambling loans will be taxed, the finance ministry source added.
Plans to expand the availability of gambling in Greece have met opposition, with the local authorities in the Greek islands of Santorini and Crete recently hitting out at government plans to allow casinos to open on the popular tourist destinations.
Media reports from Crete say that local councils in the island are also preparing to launch a campaign against the casinos.
Greek’s Planned Regulatory Reform on Gambling Faces Growing Opposition
Greek casino officials voiced concerns earlier this week that the planned overhaul of the country’s gambling industry favors new casinos over existing ones.
A draft bill that calls for significant changes within the nation’s gambling sector is currently under consideration by the Greek government.
Among other things, the piece of legislation proposes a new licensing framework for the country’s casinos. According to officials at operational casinos the new regulatory regime creates better conditions for new industry stakeholders. Gambling executives also oppose the implementation of different corporate taxes for operators of existing venues and for newcomers.
The proposed scrapping of an entry fee for patrons is yet another provision that existing casinos have received with discontent. Under the draft bill, already operational gaming venues will first have to be given the nod from the Hellenic Gaming Commission in order to remove the entry fee. What is more, they will have to pay a compensation fee, which casino officials deem too high.
The sweeping gambling reform currently under consideration by lawmakers allows for the relocation of six existing casinos and the construction of three new casinos on the Greek islands of Mykonos, Crete, and Santorini. All three are popular tourist destinations and the opening of gambling venues is hoped to attract even a greater number of international travelers and boost Greece’s tourism industry and economy at a time when the country desperately needs additional revenue sources.
Mykonos Opposes the New Casino Proposal
News have emerged from Greece that officials from all three islands have opposed the proposal for the construction of gambling venues on their territories. However, it can be said that Mykonos officials have been most vocal in their discontent with the proposed gambling expansion.
Local media reported recently that Mykonos’ mayor, Konstantinos Koukas, has sent a letter to Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras expressing the island’s opposition to the casino plan. In his letter, Mr. Koukas has said that the island has much more pressing issues to address, including the addition of more schools, hospitals, and infrastructure. The letter further read that only after these issues are solved, they could think about building a casino.
Island officials have also stressed on the fact that while the Greek government had conducted public consultation on the proposed casino expansion and the Mykonos municipality had participated in it, its stance on the matter had clearly not been taken into consideration.
Last month, the Mykonos City Council approved a proposal for a referendum at which islanders would be able to voice their opinion on the matter. Councilors also decided to launch a petition against the casino proposal and to authorize Mayor Koukas to take legal action in relation to the government’s decision to potentially authorize the construction of a casino on the island, despite the growing opposition to the move.
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