Exclusive Interview with Vaněk David – General Manager of Fortuna Entertainment Group
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.