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It is my great pleasure to introduce my latest interview with a respected women of the gambling industry. Milena Tsankarska is the Sales and Marketing Manager of BEGE EXPO has graduated the University of National and World Economy, Sofia. Milena holds a Master degree in Marketing and Management. With certificates for PR, Marketing, Brand Management and reputation, Milena is also a valued member of Bulgarian Public Relations Society. During the period 1997–2008 she has occupied positions as Marketing Manager in major companies from various fields. In 2008 Milena was appointed as a Marketing Manager of Balkan Entertainment and Gaming Expo (BEGE) – the leading gaming and entertainment exhibition in the Balkans and Eastern Europe. Since 2015 she is responsible for the Marketing & Sales department of BEGE. For the past 10 years she is also working closely for the online magazine e-Game Spectrum, which covers various aspects of the gaming and entertainment industry in the Balkans and Eastern Europe.
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First of all thank you very much for accepting this interview. I would like to ask you to shortly introduce yourself to our readers and tell us when and why you started working in this industry.
Milena: Thank you for the kind invitation and greetings to all of your readers. I am Milena and for the past ten years I have been part of the team behind the leading gaming event in Eastern Europe – BEGE Expo. The organization of such important exhibition has been one of the biggest challenges in my professional career and still provokes me everyday – to learn new things and discover the potential of technologies, as part of one of the fastest developing industries worldwide – the gaming industry.
As Sales and Marketing Manager of BEGE EXPO you have been taking part in the whole process of organizing this important event for many years now. Please speak about this event and your role, your tasks and responsibilities.
Milena: Actually, taking the step in becoming the Marketing Manager of BEGE in 2008 and Marketing & Sales Manager later in 2015, it has opened a whole new world of opportunities to me. I am grateful to be able to work with so many professionals everyday and meet with the leaders in the gaming and entertainment field. I am engaged with finding new clients and introducing to them the opportunities of the Eastern European market and not only – a job truly inspiring and responsible as well.
The 11th edition of this exhibition is scheduled for 21-22 November. In what will this year’s exhibition differ, are there novelties you would like to speak about?
Milena: We always try to listen to our exhibitors and work together on the success of the expo. In the last few years we have been trying to introduce new things regularly and keep on track with the advances in the industry. In 2017 we launched a Startup zone, an Innovation zone and the Sales Pitch zone – projects, which we intend to continue developing further in 2018, too. We want to make the Online gaming business another strong part of the event and this is what we will work for this year.
Which were the most difficult periods in your career so far and what do you consider your personal success?
Milena: Everyone experiences hard periods and challenges sometimes. However, when you work with a team, which believes in the idea and the project, when your team is positive about it, every challenge becomes an opportunity. We, at BEGE Expo accept the challenges with a smile and always look for a way to cope with them. As part of the team behind these two successful events, I accept every achievement as my personal. Every accomplishment is part of the mutual success, because we value teamwork.
I am sure that you have experience and knowledge about the European gambling industry especially the Eastern European one. I would like to ask you to share your opinion about gambling industry in general in Europe or in the countries you know better?
Milena: Currently, the gaming industry in Eastern Europe and more specifically Bulgaria is enjoying a very stable growth. According to the Annual report on the Bulgarian gaming industry by BTAMOGI (the Bulgarian Trade Association of Manufacturers and Operators in the Gaming Industry) there are 26 casinos and 847 gaming halls – nearly 80 new halls were opened in Bulgaria in 2017. The total number of gaming machines has reached 26877 by September 2017, which is with 1756 more than in 2016. The online game licenses reached 25 in just 3 years (in 2013 there were only 3 licenses). All this data I can summarize in two words – steady rise. In Romania the industry is also well-developing, in Serbia and Macedonia, as well. The predictions for the future development of the region are good and hopefully more providers will see the potential in Eastern Europe.
Tell us please about your future plans, projects regarding your professional life.
Milena: I have concentrated on the future edition of BEGE Expo and EEGS in 2018. Me and my team we are working hard on improving the events and surprising the visitors every year. This November we would like to introduce a new conference format and better opportunities for networking and business to our guests. My work is totally devoted to discovering new ideas and implementing them in everything I do.
What does success mean to you and do you consider your career a successful one?
Milena: Success for me is seeing people enjoy what they do and the results of a hard work. The material aspect of success is having BEGE Expo grow every year – exhibition space is expanding and number of exhibitors and visitors are constantly rising. However, more important is that this event managed to become an essential part of the industry – an engine driving innovation and transformation for a whole decade. It has been 11 years already!
You must have participated at several conferences, professional meetings so far. What are your experiences regarding these events and which are the most important ones you would like to talk about?
Milena: In such dynamic industry you have to be always aware of what the competition is up to. I have visited all major events for the industry – ICE London, G2E in Las Vegas, VIGE in Austria, the iGaming Super Show in Amsterdam, as well as the regional conferences and exhibitions. You can always learn something new and get inspired by such events.
Source: European Gaming Media and Events