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My next interviewee is a well know expert in the gambling industry. Tal Zamstein (Group Head of Gaming at Fortuna Group) is going to be among the speakers at the second edition of Prague Gaming Summit (more details here) and I want to thank him for taking his time and doing this interview.
I would also like to thank you for following my interview series and for sharing these information with your colleagues and partners. If you would like to be featured in an upcoming interview, please send me an e-mail to [email protected] and I will happily get back to you!
Mr. Tal, thank you for accepting this interview. I have read in your biography that as a manager team-work, leading your team to achieve great results is very important for you. Will you please shortly speak about you and your career?
Tal: I grew up from the very basic level in this industry, started as a CS agent while studying. This gives me until today the ability to understand the CS agent behind the Phone/Chat/Mail and his/her challenges. As I moved to managed projects I did not forget the focus on the customers, always having in the back of my mind, the experience with faults and errors I had to deal with as a CS agent.
Later moving to manage people was easier. They knew and felt I was coming from the lower level and I always paid attention to the fact I should be part of the team, accept other opinions while giving direction. It is a key for a success to give the people a space for their own creativity while creating the boundaries.
As I moved to roles which required me to manage people in multiple locations the challenge became bigger, and there is no way to convince someone to behave in a certain way while you are absent if the other party does not understand what is the main goal and is not part of the whole journey there. People engagement is a key and we cannot achieve it with orders but with a team set of mind.
The Fortuna Entertainment Group is the largest European betting operator. It operates in several European countries. Please speak about the services, products this company offers.
Tal: Fortuna Entertainment Group is the biggest Central and Eastern Europe operator. In the UK and Germany we can still find bigger operators. We concentrate on our 5 territories and building ourselves as a one stop shop, in terms of betting and gaming in those countries.
Currently we offer Sportsbook and Virtual Games retail and online in Poland and Slovakia, the regulator is restricting gaming at this point. In Czech Republic we launched online gaming a year ago (Technical Games and Live Games licenses) and of course Sportsbook online and retail.
In Romania we are operating currently with 2 brands (Fortuna and Casa Pariurilor) and we have a full gaming, instant games, Sportsbook offer in both retail and online.
In Croatia we own the PSK operation, similar to Romania where we have a very comprehensive retail and online Casino, Lotto, Sportsbook offer in this market.
The company you represent is a leader in setting trends in the betting sector. How could it reach to this level? What is the key of success and which are the values the company considers vital in order to achieve its goals?
Tal: We are leading the market because of a work which was done well in the past. The Fortuna brand was built very strongly, especially with the retail presence in the main three territories (Poland, Czech Rep, and Slovakia) and later with a big first acquisition in Romania.
The Group is always putting in mind to be first out with a new product once allowed in the territory and push forward with innovation within the operations. The leading management of the Group changed the emphasis into online and Mobile offers a while ago, showing the trends to the territories.
With the last acquisition of Hattrick Group (Casa Pariurilor in Romania and PSK in Croatia) the Group extended its arms in the region and took another step to get this vision into those two brands.
You have a vast experience in the gambling industry. Please tell our readers your opinion about the Czech market regulations and the present situation of this market.
Tal: The Czech Market is a very non-mature gaming regulated market. It is not unique for this territory to restrict a lot in the very beginning, we can remind ourselves about Slots not being allowed in Italy and Spain i.e. For now, there are many restrictions regarding products (Live Dealer offer is restricted), amounts are very tight (max bet and max win) and the government took it very slowly to protect the customers.
I assume that like the other territories did in the past, the Czech regulator will understand that the operators are not the bad guys and there is a space to offer everything in a proper way. This will take time, too.
The Market has a space for more operators and I think that we will see more brands go live this year. It is a process of several years and I think we will have the Czech market structured like the mature regulated markets as Italy, Spain, and UK etc.
Finally I would like to ask you to share with us the future plans of the company and your expectations regarding the future of the Fortuna Entertainment Group.
Tal: We do expect a lot from the Group, as you know, our major shares holder is currently buying back all the Fortuna stocks. The plan is to finish the migration of the new brands, put everything on one advanced platform with the most innovative technology and continue to expand territory wisely.
There are still regulated countries in this region we are not operating in and I assume it will be changed at some point.
To meet Tal in person, make sure you register and attend Prague Gaming Summit 2018, held on the 29th of March at Andel’s by Vienna House Prague.
Source: European Gaming Media and Events