Valentin-Adrian GEORGESCU, CEO of NOVOMATIC Romania, founded a successful company since 1990 and brought for the first time an international gambling brand, ADMIRAL. Over the years, he managed to expand B2C operations across the country, with ADMIRAL now considered a “huge showroom” nationwide, helping to promote gaming equipment to operators. Also, as a B2B distributor, the company is recognized and appreciated by professionals in the field because it supports technology trends and offers impeccable quality of products and services.
C&B: What did 30 years in the gambling industry mean for NOVOMATIC Romania?
Valentin-Adrian GEORGESCU: “In the 1990s, we were the first company to bring the first successful international brand, ADMIRAL, as a gambling operator. NOVOMATIC’s know-how, support and experience had their say, being leaders in this sector for years. So far, we have developed our operations in all sectors of the industry: slot machines, sports betting, VLT (automatic lottery video game) provider, online games, payment processor, service, post service, spare parts, etc. We also operate in partnership with Compania Națională Loteria Română SA, approximately 5,900 VLT. On the operational side, we have over 75 ADMIRAL gaming halls, TIP & CASH sports betting agencies and we operate over 700 terminals, in over 360 locations. In total, we manage approximately 10,200 gaming equipment per month. ”
C&B: After decades, how does the general perception of the industry in our country feel?
Valentin-Adrian GEORGESCU: “We are talking about Romania, for the general perception it is less positive, because, unfortunately, it is associated with some activities of the black market. In reality, things have evolved considerably in this sector. At the moment it is the most taxed field, and the measures for the workflow of gambling operators is strictly observed. For example, few people know that gambling equipment are connected to the National Gambling Office and thus any attempt of fraud is impossible for operators. Another important and less discussed aspect is that, this industry contributes with millions of euros annually to the state budget. Moreover, it offers tens of thousands of jobs in Romania and is a major payer of salaries, taxes and duties, with direct and indirect taxes of 600 million euros paid annually and a degree of collection of over 99%. So, I wish that the perception of Romanians to change over time and for the players to become more responsible and to associate this activity, just as an entertainment one, as it is in other countries. ”
C&B: How did you choose to celebrate the company’s anniversary?
Valentin-Adrian GEORGESCU: “The NOVOMATIC company, which has its headquarters in Austria, celebrates 40 years this year, and we, NOVOMATIC Romania, celebrate 30 years. We all wanted to have memorable anniversaries and most of the details were already set. Given the socio-economic context, following the COVID-19 pandemic, we have chosen to shift our focus to supporting our customers and partners by adopting effective measures for the industry. Due to the suspension of the activity, it has become our main priority to support the partners’ businesses, in order to get through this period. Also, to celebrate the 30 years of success, we have created a series of offers for the purchase and rental of equipment in advantageous conditions, which are by far the best offers we have had over the years. Even in this economic context, we want to keep our promise to our customers and partners. “We continue to support you in your business!” it is our new slogan that adapts to this uncertain year for the business environment and that motivates us to constantly find solutions. 30 years of success in the industry have taught me that any crisis can be overcome. ”
C&B: What are the company’s biggest achievements so far?
Valentin-Adrian GEORGESCU: “There were many key moments that maintained our position on the market and thanks to which NOVOMATIC Romania is a leader in the gaming equipment sector. For three decades we have been operating in the most performing gaming halls, ADMIRAL, which was also the first international brand of gaming halls brought to Romania and which enjoys an increased notoriety. Since 2013 we have a successful partnership with the Romanian Lottery National Company. 2015 was a revolutionary year on the sports betting market, being the first to implement the technology of sports terminals through self-service services in TIP & CASH agencies. So far, we have introduced over 700 terminals. In 2017, we launched the online games platform admiral.ro and we brought, exclusively on the Romanian market, the famous NOVOMATIC games, from land-base to online. In the same year, we became the sole distributor for APEX and Ainsworth equipment. 2019 was the year in which we expanded our gaming offer by introducing AWP limited risk gaming equipment, which was a great success. This year, in full pandemic, we are proud that we managed to take over the admiral.ro platform. All these achievements were possible thanks to a team of professionals and I am glad that some of them have been with us for more than 15 years. ”
C&B: Do you have programs dedicated to preventing and combating gambling addiction?
Valentin-Adrian GEORGESCU: “Of course, we are actively involved in such projects from the very beginning. For example, NOVOMATIC Romania initiated in 2010 the Responsible Gaming program, later taken over by ROMSLOT and which is one of the few national programs dedicated to people who face addiction problems and the only one that offers concrete help. The team of specialists develops and implements education and prevention programs and offers 24/7, upon request, psychological counselling to people who have exceeded the limit. It is useful to mention for the general public that it offers FREE evaluation and therapy sessions for players and their families with psychologists, psychotherapists and specialists, including Dr. Cristian Andrei. Currently, the Responsible Gaming Association has five psychological counselling offices (Bucharest, Craiova, Constanța and Iași). As ROMSLOT members, we are proud to support and further promote this program. ”
C&B: What impact does the gambling industry have on the Romanian economy?
Valentin-Adrian GEORGESCU: “The gambling industry has an essential role when we discuss the contributions to the state. It is the most taxed field, it contributes millions of euros annually and we have one of the highest levels of taxation in Europe. Currently, this industry provides 45,000 jobs, and if we refer strictly to NOVOMATIC Romania, we have approximately 660 employees. Regarding the taxes paid to the state only in 2019, we refer to 13.13 million euros, only by our company. ”
C&B: What are the prospects of the gambling industry in Romania?
Valentin-Adrian GEORGESCU: “At the moment, considering the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic, an essential role has been played by the online activity, which has grown considerably and that makes me happy. The player’s behaviour is changing, and we aim to encourage players in the gaming halls to expand their online gaming experience safely. Moreover, we have provided them with various offers and benefits that complement each other. I believe that this is the future of the industry in this direction. “
C&B: How did you manage the effects of the pandemic internally?Valentin-Adrian GEORGESCU: “The land base segment went through a more difficult period, and the operators’ efforts were directed more towards the protection of the staff and the players. However, we have made every effort to keep all jobs in this pandemic. Another key role during this period was played by the authorities and their decision to postpone the payment of taxes. The effects of this pandemic will last longer and I hope that the business environment will continue to have the support of the authorities, so that we can enter a normal rhythm as soon as possible. “